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The Importers Of Gold And Silver

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concentrates on the methods of acquisition of precious metal employed by the poleis. There were four possible methods of acquisition: import of bullion, import of coins, loans from temples and booty from war. For the acquisition of gold two case studies are examined, Asia Minor and Sicily/Magna Graecia, since the numismatic profile of gold/electrum coinages in these areas is starkly different. In the fifth century, more poleis in Asia Minor began to mint, most of them in silver, while the minting of electrum/gold also revived, after its decline in the second half of the sixth century. The first gold coinages in Sicily appear in the late fifth century in Syracuse, Akragas, Gela and Kamarina. The prolific minting of Athens is best explained not in connection with silver exports in the form of coins but rather in relation to its economic, political and military importance in the Greek world.

Keywords: gold coinage; silver importers



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