Currency unit


The obverse and reverse sides of the gold coin are indefinitely egg-shaped, on one side of which the head of a wild animal is depicted, and on the other, two rectangular stamps.
Stater of the kingdom of Lydia, early 6th century BC. J.-K.

The tradition gives birth to the currency in Anatolia in the western part of Asia Minor in the middle of the 6th century BC. In fact, Herodotus tells a story that currency is an invention of Croesus, king of Lydia, whose capital, Sardis, is crossed by the river Pactolus, which naturally carries electrum, an amber-colored natural alloy (averaging 75% gold with 25% silver and copper) .

Archaeologists have also found coins issued by King Croesus or Father Alyattes II in the middle of the 6th century BC. AD: At reseeds (or “more pure and lighter Croesan states”) in electrum there is a lion proton on the obverse, and on the reverse of the insignia, in the Mesopotamian sexagesimal system.

However, archaeological discoveries show the first “private” Electrum coins from the 7th century BC. J. – C., about 630: they were minted also in Lydia, as in Ionia, in the commercial coastal cities (Miletus, Ephesus, Phocaea). The first known coinage in French territory is the Oriol Treasure, consisting of silver coins and epigraphs issued in Masala around 500 BC. J.-K.

Nevertheless, historians credit Croesus, the last king of Lydia, with the innovation of minting fixed ratio gold and silver coins (bimetallism in artificial alloy) to replace electrum because the alloy contained a percentage of gold or silver that fluctuated too much. In this regard, it is important to open installations near the Paktor River that make it possible to obtain gold or silver refined from local white gold nuggets by cupellation.

The use of these ancient Greek coins, which are not round and flat, but ovoid, with a bulge in the middle, spread also in the Hellenistic world (in European Greece, where coins were minted around 600 in Aegina, shortly after 600 in Athens, around 550 in Magna Graecia, then is in southern Italy) than among the Achaemenid Persians.

where the Persian king Darius issued about 515 darics and centuries. The invention reaches Marseille 4th century BC. J. – C. The idea arises among the Lydians, promised by the long prosperity of the state monopoly on money in precious metal and, thus, on the production of ancient mines.

Philip II of Macedon strikes at gold states and silver tetradrachms, the peculiarity of which is that they continue to be issued after his death. However, his son Alexander the Great issues coins in his name in such large quantities that the currency certainly dominates international trade.

AD in the Moselle valley, where archaeological discoveries have revealed objects that at first rather slavishly imitate the gold states of Philip II of Macedon.

The first Roman coins are bronze aces. Exchange with the Greeks promotes the development of gold and silver coins, which have been constantly devalued throughout history. Denier (from Latin denarius, tenth as) appeared by the 2nd century BC.

It is still used in medieval times, when the blows of the feudal lords multiplied the deniers in their form and metal composition (first in silver and then mainly in copper, these lords set their value according to these compositions and forbid in their domains, circulation of foreign currencies) and before the French Revolution under the livre-sous-den monetary system used under the Ancient Régime.

The circulation of precious metals from secular or spiritual values ​​and the excess of Italian trade allows the 13th century to strike new tops by weight as well as post-Carolingian means: large, dried up gold in 1231 (this currency sees the return of gold in the coinage of Western Europe, with emperor of the Romans, Frederick de Hohenstaufen making it the official currency of the empire), the gold florins in 1252, the gold crowns of Saint Louis in 1270, the ducat d’or (also called sequin) in 1282.

The first gold franc (worth twenty sous, i.e. a pound) was minted at Compiegne on December 5, 1360, to help pay the ransom for King John II, who was captured by the English on September 19, 1356 at the Battle of Poitiers.

The first testiness made in 1450 in Milan at the Sforza restored the use initiated by ancient Rome to include a portrait of the sovereign on a coin.

Differences in the mass of precious metals used in international trade, in particular in the import of spices and fabrics to Europe, explain many of the monetary delays. The impact of these operations on existing stocks of gold and silver underlies the various monetary