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Persia, Achaemenid Empire. Darios I to Xerxes I. (Circa 505-480 BC)
AR Siglos

14 mm, 5.38 g

Lydo-Milesian standard. Sardes mint.

Obverse: Persian king or hero, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver over shoulder, in kneeling-running stance right, drawing bow

Reverse: Incuse punch

Carradice Type II (pl. XI, 12); Meadows, Administration 320; BMC Arabia pl. XXVII, 23; Sunrise 21.

From the Baldwin Maull Collection, purchased 1950s-early 1960s.

The Persians eventual adoption of coinage was related to their conquests of Lydia and then to their conflicts with the Greek city states in the sixth through fourth centuries BC. During these wars, the Persians employed Greek mercenaries, who were accustomed to receiving payment in coinage.

The Persians issued silver sigloi and gold darics (20:1 value) with only a few basic designs. The type of siglos above (Type II), with the full-length king drawing a bow, is attributed to the period 510-480 BC and the third Persian King after Cyrus the Great, Darius I the Great, who is thought to be the human figure represented on the coin.

In general it seems that the circulation patterns of darics and sigloi were fundamentally different Ė so far there is no single known hoard in which the two types of coins have occurred together. Darics circulated widely and were likely used for the payment of governmental, military (1 per month for the average soldier) and diplomatic expenses. Moreover, once they entered circulation, they would have been readily accepted as bullion anywhere. As the Greeks themselves hardly struck any gold, the daric was almost free of competition on the coin market in its time.

In contrast, hoards of sigloi have been found almost exclusively in the westernmost Persian territories ó the central, coastal regions of modern Turkey. From the beginning, sigloi were primarily used for local needs. In international trade the small, relatively unattractive siglos hardly had a chance against the superior Greek competitors, and even the Greek mercenaries serving in Persian service increasingly refused to accept it.

The Persianís primary mint was certainly Sardes (the mint of the former Lydian kings as well), the seat of the Achaemenid administration for the whole of Asia Minor. As the leading administrative center, Sardes must also have been the collection point for the annual tribute payments from the provinces of Asia Minor, thus ensuring a sufficient supply of precious metals for mint production there.
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Album name:Nathan P / Ancient Greece and Asia Minor
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Date added:Sep 25, 2019
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Tracy Aiello  [Sep 25, 2019 at 10:20 PM]
Great coin. Nice write-up.