The Other Coin: The Coins of Central Greece

Homeland Greece took about a century to adopt the new coinage coming from
their colonies in Asia Minor. Around 500 BC the market cities of central
Greece adopted coinage with characteristic designs. Coinage spread from
central markets and major cities to the countryside and temples.

Aigina was the first with their turtle coins. Followed shortly by Corinth with a
helmeted Athena and a pegasus versus Athens with their helmeted Athena and
owl. Boeotia placed their famous shield on their coins. Euboia the nymph
Euboia and a bull. Corcyra had a cow and calf. Other coins were minted, but
the patron goddess, nymph, or city emblem was the most typical for these
cities.

One can trace the expansion and contraction of these city-states as their
coinage came to dominate or replace certain regions. In fact the extent of the
city-state is often determined by the archeological finds of their coins. Athena
conquered and removed the population from Aigina, ending the reign of the
turtle coins and making their owl the standard coinage for Greece and much of
the Mediterranean. The pegasus of Corinth and owl of Athens contented for
commercial dominace in central Greece with cities adopted the owl or pegasus
with just a mint mark indicating their own city. Unconquered Boeotia and
Euboia continued their shield and nymph coins.

Coins of central Greece are considered some of the most beautiful and
historical coins. Each of these places are well represented in historical writings
and a coin from the time of Socrates or Solon, the Persian invasion or some
other historical event or figure is a popular way to collect these coins as well
as getting a coin from each province, the islands, or a much larger
collection--each city and temple.