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Coin Depicting the Hero Herakles

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.

Date:

4th century BCE and later

Artist:

Greek, minted in Erythrae, Ionia

About this artwork

The use of coins as a form of money was invented in western Asia Minor in the early 7th century BC. At the time when the coins in this case were struck, Greece was made up of separate city-states that issued their own currency. Made of gold, silver, bronze, and electrum (a gold-silver alloy), coins were literally worth their weight, but their value varied according to the percentage of their precious metal content. Occasionally a city needed more money than it had in reserves. By reducing the amount of precious metal and substituting a base metal, a coin could be produced of the same weight but no longer of the same value. Some currency was only honored within its own city walls, but trustworthy money encouraged trade. Athens had the biggest economy, and its coin became the standard in the Greek world.The population was largely illiterate, but it could identify the place of origin of a coin by its imagery. Many of these images referred to myths that were associated with the history of the community and thus were well known to the populace from religious ceremonies and theatrical entertainment. The story of a city’s founding, a local hero, the city’s guardian deity, and even the reason for the city’s wealth were subjects for a coin’s insignia.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Artist

Ancient Greek

Title

Coin Depicting the Hero Herakles

Place

Greece (Minted in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

400 BCE–300 BCE

Medium

Bronze

Dimensions

Diam.: 1.1 cm (7/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of William F. Dunham

Reference Number

1920.2913

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/199230/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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