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Yemrot's Blog

03 Nov 2014

History of Heads appearing on Coins

Ancient Coins | Yemrot

Lydia, the first to start making coins, did so at around 600bc but they did not depicted people, but insteadfamously a lion. Then in Ancient Greece, 479 b.c. King Gelon of Syracuse issued a coin called a Demareteion with a portrait of the Demarete, it is the coin to first feature a head of a person. Another Greek coin from 440 b.c., the most renowned ancient coin, is theAthena's Owl. A silver tetradrachm with Athena's head on the obverse(front) and her sacred owl on the reverse. Many Greek coins were issued with the heads of their gods and goddess, actual people were rarely used. Even Alexander the Great did not have his image on his own coins(after his death, some coins were made with his image).

In the Roman Empire, probably 99% of emperors had their head on some denomination. Augustus was on at least 20 different coins Nero had reached at least 14. Almost every Roman coin from 180 b.c. to the fall and into Byzantine had at least one side with someone's head.

Comments

Mike

Level 7

I agree with LNCS. Lady LIberty should be back on all our coinage. That's what we're about

user_7180

Level 5

Great story again! Your knowledge of history and Numismatics is remarkable!

karstkri

Level 4

Great post, I have never sean an Athena s Owl like that , have you some referance of the coin ?

Kepi

Level 6

Great research!

LNCS

Level 5

Very interesting blog. Wish we would go back to representations of Liberty on our coins.

user_9998

Level 5

And how.

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