Ancient Greek Facts: Pottery and Coins

During the 7th century BC, the Greeks were responsible for producing the first coins, which were fashioned out of a substance called electrum , an alloy of gold and silver. In this article, you will learn more facts about ancient coins, as well as the different patterns of ancient pottery in Greece.

Coins, Please

In the beginning, the coins were plain looking with no decoration. It wasn’t until later that King Croisos ordered the production of coins made out of both gold and silver. The appearance of the currency also took on a different approach, as these coins showed the symbols of Lydia on the front side. On the mainland, the first Greek coins were produced in Aigina , an island located southwest of Athens.

It didn’t take long for coin production to spread to other parts of ancient Greece. Many other cities caught on to the process, which created an array of new designs. It was also now customary to showcase images on the reverse side of the coins. However, the system of coinage was altered when Athens became a powerhouse amongst the other cities in ancient Greece. They enforced a policy that forbid other cities from using any other coins except for those made in Athens, which used the head of Athena on the front and the owl on the other side. When the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC rolled around, this policy changed and the cities once again produced their own coins.

The Making of Ancient Coins

During the ancient days of Greece, the advanced technology that we use today to produce currency in large quantities did not exist. However, the process of minting coins in the past wasn’t much different than the way we use today. They placed hot metal between two dies and the coin was struck. Traditionally, the barley ear served as a well-known symbol of the Greek colony of Metapontum, which reflected how significant it was to the ancient diet. In Greek mythology, it was the daughter of Demeter (the prime agricultural goddess worshipped at the time) who wore a barley wreath , Persephone. After Hades of the Underworld kidnapped Persephone, Demeter was in such grief that the earth did not bear fruit until her daughter returned , marked by the spring and summer season.

Hush Little Baby”¦

Until they turned 7 years old, children lived with their mothers in the women’s quarter, sleeping in a wicket basket or wooden cradle.

The Evolution of Ancient Greek Pottery

As early as 6,000 BC, the Greeks along with the inhabitants of the Aegean islands, west coast of Asia Minor, as well as southern Italy and Sicily, earned a reputation for creating some of the most striking vases. However, it was Athens who constructed the best vases, and because of this , they were exported throughout the Mediterranean region. They ranged in style, shape, and quality with some belonging under lock and key in a museum. The Mycenaean era saw vases that offered an uncomplicated symmetrical design. During the Greek Dark Ages, pottery was also created. Between 1200 and 900 BC, pottery tended to highlight circular ornamentation. From 900 to 700 BC, pottery patterns were influenced by a time referred to as the Geometric Period, where decorative vases took on a ‘meander pattern.’ The popularity of spirals, diamonds, and crosshatching designs also grew over time.