Silver stater of Naxos

Unknown"540-520 BC" - ""

Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art
Athens, Greece

This silver coin, minted at the Cycladic island of Naxos in the second half of the 6th c. BC, is decorated with a kantharos (wine-cup), the symbol of god Dionysus, on the front side, and has a plain punch-mark on the back (proof that the coin had been officially weighed). The use of metal coins started in Lydia (Asia Minor) around 600 BC and soon after that it spread to the Greek world. Although the first examples were made of electrum (a natural alloy of gold and silver), eventually silver became the standard material for coinage. During the 6th and 5th c. BC, most coins bore the symbol of the city or its patron god on the front side. Those motifs became emblematic of the cities they represented: the tortoise of Aegina, the owl of Athens, the apple of Melos, Pegasus of Corinth, etc; today, early coins are considered by historians as strong evidence for the development of an ancient Greek city into an autonomous political institution (city-state). It is, thus, clear that from the very beginning of their history, coins had both an economic and a political dimension, which were inextricably linked.


  • Title: Silver stater of Naxos
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: "540-520 BC" - ""
  • Provenance: Unknown
  • Period: Archaic period
  • Culture: Greek
  • Type: coin
  • Rights: N.P. Goulandris Foundation - Museum of Cycladic Art, N.P. Goulandis Collection, no. 999, http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/portal.asp?cpage=NODE&cnode=25&clang=1
  • External Link: Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece
  • Medium: silver

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