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Dating the Drachmas in Solon's Laws

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Can the drachmas in the 'laws of Solon' be explained as silver weights, usin the Athenian economy as a silver standard before the adoption of coinage in the second half of the sixth century BCE? I believe the answer is a firm no. In this paper I marshal historical, archaeological, numismatic and literary evidence to demonstrate that pre-Peisistratid Athens had an essentially agrarian economy in which local trade was usually denominated in barley, and weighed silver was used only to a limited extent in foreign trade and travel. It was the expanding trade of the Peisistratid era that led to the adoption of coinage, following a well-established Ionian model.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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  • Historia, first published in 1952 by Karl Friedrich Stroheker and Gerold Walser is an international, peer-reviewed journal on Greek and Roman antiquity. Articles are in English, German, French and Italian. It features original articles on Greek history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. It covers all aspects of political, economic, religious and social life and deals with legal, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphical questions.
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