The Rapid Spread of Coin Use

The map below represents the spread of coin use across the Greek, Persian, and Phoenician world in the 7th through 5th centuries BCE. It is uncertain whether the first coins were minted in Ionia or Lydia, but present findings lean toward the latter. It is believed that the original minting was done to pay mercenary troops. For approximately 100 years the use of coins seemed limited to western Asia Minor. In the mid 6th century major trading cities such as Aigina and Athens adopted coins. From this point in time the spread of coins was rapid and within 50 years cities in Africa, Italy, and on the Black Sea had also begun striking coins. The Persian emperors assimilated western Asia Minor by 500 BCE and began minting the Persian siglos and gold Daric. All of Asia Minor and the Levant were using these coins shortly thereafter. Coin Images for this animation were supplied by Classical Numismatic Group (CNG) with permission.

Sources: David Sear (2000). Greek Coins and Their Values: Volumes I and II . Seaby publications.
Magna Grecian coins online at
Major Auction House Catalogs from CNG and Rauch were also consulted.
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