Amazing Ancient Inventions – Part 1

4. Urban Life

4.1 Coins

The history of coins extends from ancient times to the present, and is related to economic history, the history of minting technologies, the history shown by the images on coins, and the history of coin collecting. Coins are still widely used for monetary and other purposes.

All western histories of coins begin with their invention at some time slightly before or after 700 B.C. in Aegina Island, or according to others in Ephesus, Lydia, 650 B.C. Since that time, coins have been the most universal embodiment of money. These first coins were made of electrum, a naturally occurring pale yellow mixture of gold and silver that was further alloyed with silver and copper.

Also, the Persian coins were very famous in the Persian and Sassanids era. Most notably, in Susa and in Ctesiphon.

Some of the most famous and widely collected coins of antiquity are Roman coins and Greek coins.
The Byzantine Empire minted many coins (see Byzantine currency), including very thin gold coins bearing the image of the Christian cross and various Byzantine emperors.

A tomb of the Shang Dynasty dating back to the 11th century B.C. shows what may be the first cast copper money Tong Bei. Coinage was in widespread use by the Warring States Period and the Han Dynasty.

Some of the earliest coins were beaten at the edges to imitate the shape of a cow, in indication of their value. Most coins are circular but some were rectangular. Also a lot of coins, especially in China had a hole through the center so they could be tied on to a string.

Some of the earliest coins to be made purely from silver and gold were the silver Dirham and gold Dinar in the early Islamic Caliphate from the 7th century.

Silver and gold coins are the most common and universally recognized throughout history, even today. Mints around the world still make millions of gold and silver coins, such as the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, the American Gold Eagle, and the Australian Nugget. Copper, nickel, and other metals are also common, but in lower denominations.

There are multiple theories on the origin of coins. One theory argues that coins originated ca. 600-550 BC in Anatolia, which corresponds to modern-day Turkey, in particular in the Anatolian kingdom of Lydia.[3][4] Opponents of the Lydia scenario point to the fact that coins of that era have been totally absent from archeological finds in Sardis, capital of Lydia.[5] A coin, by definition, is an object used to facilitate commerce and exchanges.

King Kroisos period. Circa 561-546 BC.  Image Source: Wikipedia

Another possible candidate for first metal coins come from China. The earliest known Chinese metal tokens were made ca. 900 BC, discovered in a tomb near Anyang.[7][8] These were replicas in bronze of earlier Chinese money, cowry shells, so they were named Bronze Shell. Some numismatists, however, regard these as well as later Chinese bronzes that were replicas of knives, spades, and hoes as money but not as coins because they did not at least initially carry a mark or marks certifying them to be of a definite exchange value.

Along with Anatolia and China, India also played a major part in the development of coinage. The first Indian coins were minted around the 6th century BC by the Mahajanapadas of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

Throughout history, governments have been known to create more coinage than their supply of precious metals would allow. By replacing some fraction of a coin’s precious metal content with a base metal (often copper or nickel), the intrinsic value of each individual coin was reduced (thereby “debasing” their money), allowing the coining authority to produce more coins than would otherwise be possible. Debasement sometimes occurs in order to make the coin harder and therefore less likely to be worn down as quickly. Debasement of money almost always leads to price inflation unless price controls are also instituted by the governing authority, in which case a black market will often arise.

Modern Gold Coin. 1 oz American Golden Eagle.

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Comments

  1. Gary Schoenung says

    Many of the “mysterious” accomplishments from our early recorded history were left over from an earlier age and simply taken advantage of and reused, sometimes for the original purpose and other times for something entirely different. The reason for that is because they didn’t have the slightest idea what to make of them either. This link is to a video I put together of a massive ancient irrigation system in South Africa covering hundreds of miles that was not reused, and there are presently no theories that I am aware of.

    http://vimeo.com/64351951

    I am looking forward to reading about any explanations for it.

  2. Elijah says

    I find the article shallow perpertrating and continuing fals concepts of 100 years ago. Breasted’s 4236bc is based on the date July 18 for Memphis when Thoth was on July 20 for 4245-4242bc and then July 19 for 4241-4238bc and July 18 for 4237-4234bc. However, shifting azimuth and shifting altitude from the sun was not accounted for and thats why Chicago’s Richard Parker in later encylclopedia made it quite clear that a Thoth 20 of 2782bc is to be revised to a Thoth 17 of 2770bc. If youre a Christian Hebrew adopted by Jesus you will then see how and why 2030bc July 17 is the true new year date which after Exodus became Persian Pamenot 1 after a 70-day absence of Sothis (May 8-July 17) that was 72-day at Ur (May 7-July 18) following Peleg’s death on May 6 which is why 365 days later Nahor Mes-Kalumdug and his (grand) son Haran (A-Kalumdug) poisoned themselves and four guards killing there 68 wives (exception Lot’s mother back in the city Harran preganant or nursing) to go to heaven to join Peleg as Christ the first leader into heaven. I shouldnt use the term Christ because christos comes from Xisuthros who is the spirit of Noah, and in true Genesis, Noah died on Christmas Eve almost 9 years after this suicide, and they claimed he was the Christ in heaven. The 365-day calendar did not exist before the Flood when years were 360 days. ALSO the word for 30-day “same-sized” months is civil month. A civil month is an artificial 30-day month.

  3. Chris Allan says

    If find it hard to reconcile the statement that the Egyptians could not build dams, but had no trouble building pyramids. Is it possible that a more advanced people lived on earth long ago, and were wiped out by some catastrophic event. All the old legends of flying machines etc. are just to detailed for them not to be based on actual events. Visitations by aliens is not necessarily the only explanation, an advanced people may have existed (Atlantis???) on earth in antiquity.

  4. Brenda Brown says

    Couldn’t it be that it was a little of both? I agree, nothings to say that early man didn’t know a lot more than we do today, and because of a major cataclysm, lost a large portion of their knowledge. I wonder if such an event took out a majority of our populace today, how many would know how to work with metals, make computers, build defence weapons, etc.? But at the same time, whose to say that some space race didn’t visit us in the ancient past and help us along? Why would that be so improbable? I think it’s highly likely.

  5. bill heaney says

    It is racism, no question about it, but is it wrong to think so? Using Occum’s Razor, the pyramids at Giza were built by people just like the one’s who live there now. If that is so, how did they lose their extraordinary building knowledge? There’s no modern building or monument in all of Egypt that can compare. It’s like they regressed. The inhabitants of the New World, in all of the Americas, didn’t have the wheel. Yet we are told they built the awesome pyramids attributed to them.
    The marvel regarding the cave art has nothing to do with the work itself, it is how they were able to do it in darkness. They find no carbon deposits on the ceilings in those caves with the extraordinary art. How is that possible?

    The recent archaeology find in Turkey, Gobekli Tepe[spelling?] is 12,000 years old, making the so-called Egyptian pyramids modern in comparison. Researchers have reported on finding petrified wood in and around the Giza monuments, hinting they are very much older, and modern dating has the Spinx much older.

    Ancient man was smart, but not all ancient men were as smart as we who read your books. That stone in Baalbek is proof that ancient man, the ones like those who live there now, could not have achieved that awesome skill. Look at that stone and explain it. Look at Nazca and explain how people without metal leveled those mountain tops. Come on, man, give me a break!

  6. says

    Interesting article. I look forward to more. . . . The prevalent and pernicious idea that our lowly caveman ancestors needed the godlike help of aliens to become “civilized” needs to be set aside. It isn’t provable. I believe civilization before the Cataclysm was, in some ways, more advanced than ours. By the way, I prefer “chronocentrism”–but either will work. Thank you.

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