ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ancient Greek Coins

Updated on June 6, 2012

Coins of the ancient Greek world

This lens is dedicated to ancient Greece, but it is not about the mythology, the philosophers, democracy or ancient wars. It's all about the ancient greek coins. Through an item ancient Greeks used in their every day lives, I hope to inform you about the life in ancient Greece. Below you will find photos of ancient coins and explanations of the depictions.

As ancient Greece was divided in different cities and regions, it was often than its one of them has its own currency.

Also the long history of ancient Greece creates a division of three periods (Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic), which also characterises the ancient Greek coinage.

The photo depicts the Tetradrachm of Athens coin. On its one side the owl of Athens, with an olive sprig was carved. On the reverse side of this ancient coin there is a portrait of the goddess Athena, patron of ancient Athens, in helmet.

ancient greece silver coins
ancient greece silver coins

Ancient Greek Periods & coins

the Archaic period (750 BC - 480 BC)

This period followed the Greek Dark Ages and ends with the invasion of Xerxes in Greece.

the Classical period (510 BC - 323 BC)

This is the period when culture, philosophy, architecture and politics were highly advanced, influencing the Roman and modern world

the Hellenistic period (323 BC - 146 BC)

This era begins from the death of Alexander the Great and ending with the final conquest of Greece by Romans.

Photo: This is a Silver Tetradrachm from Rhodes island. It depicts the head of Helios (Sun) and is dated after 350 BC

The Ancient Greek Drachma

ancient greek coin owl athena
ancient greek coin owl athena

The name drachma is derived from the Greek verb δρασσoμαι (drassomai / "to grasp"). Initially one drachma was "a grasp" of six oboloi (meaning metal sticks) which was used as currency back in 1100 BC. Still in the period of drachma the term obol was used to describe a coin that had 1/6 of the value of a drachma.

The most famous and characteristic ancient Drachma is the one depicted in the photo above, the Athenian tetradrachmon ("four drachma") coin. This coin was widely used not only in Athens, but also all over the ancient Greece prior to the time of Alexander the Great.

On its one side the coins features the patron goddess of Athens, Athena wearing a helmet. On the reverse side the coin depicts an owl, symbol of wisdom, Athena and the city of Athens. Next to the owl there is an olive sprig. The olive tree, according to the myth, was the gift goddess Athena offered to the city before becoming its patron. Lastly there is an inscription next to the owl, "AθE" are the first three letters of the word "AθENAION", which means "of the Athenians".

[Source ]

greek coins pictures
greek coins pictures

An ancient coin in the modern World?

Do you feel like you have seen the Athenian tetradrachmon before, while you are neither a collector nor you are familiar with ancient Greek history?

Well, this might be because the one side of the Athenian tetradrachmon coin with the owl, is depicted on the Greek 1 Euro coin. This was first issued in 2002 and you may find it today in Greece and other countries of Europe.

Ancient Coins - Map

coins in ancient greece
coins in ancient greece

Your View

Are you interested in ancient Greek coins?

See results

Books on Ancient Greek and Roman Coins

Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins: An Official Whitman Guidebook
Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins: An Official Whitman Guidebook

The Handbook of Ancient Greek and Roman Coins combines the two main references that collectors have depended on for nearly forty years in the study of ancient Greek and Roman coins. The book touches upon every aspect of ancient coinage, from how the pieces were made to what their symbolism meant to the people who used them. It contains all the information needed to properly identify and attribute coins to that era. Beginning and advanced collectors alike will benefit from data, charts, and more than 1000 full-size photographs that depict the actual coins and show how to interpret dates and inscriptions. The book contains important information on:

--Reading Greek and Roman coin inscriptions

--Identifying emperors and dates on Roman coins

--Symbols, city names, and historical and mythological characters


Ancient Greek Coins for sale

Enhance your coin collection with ancient Greek coins

Thank you for dropping by and reading this lens.

Please share your views on ancient Greek coins or my work. Write any questions you may have or what would you like this lens to include.

Coin Guestbook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      4 years ago

      I like ancient coins, but have to be careful since I am not skilled at spotting counterfeit ancients. The difficulty is the simple and crude may they were produced.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I need a chart on the different coins of ancient Athens and their value. I thought this would help but now I'm confused.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      i loved the owl

    • TriciaLymeMom profile image


      6 years ago

      Fascinating. I love ancient Greece...thanks! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Mental note: Buy a metal detector!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      ancient coins are interesting coins it carries with it the history of the past, the story of the god and goddess. I really want to have one of those.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have reviewed your lens and I liked it so I added a squidoo like to your like count on your lens. I also have a squidoo lens and I have 5 friends that also have squidoo lens' If you would like to look at our lens' and add facebook likes to them, then we would all add facebook likes to your lens. I am not putting our lens addresses in this post because I do not want to be considered spam. If you would like to add likes to us so that in return we can add likes to your lens, please let us know by emailing me at

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, these coins are awesome. I would to hold one of the real ones. Imagine the energetic imprint, imagine who held that coin.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love old coins and your site rocks! If you like coin, stamp and 1800's gold backed bonds take a second to visit my Squidoo Page CLICK HERE

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love old coins and your site rocks! If you like coin, stamp and 1800's gold backed bonds take a second to visit my Squidoo Page CLICK HERE

    • I-sparkle profile image


      8 years ago

      Your lens was very well written. I have collected coins in the past. Ancient Greek coins are some of the more fascinating pieces to collect.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting lens. Thank you.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)