Photo: Imgur

Check Out This Chart of the World’s Ancient Currencies

Maps + Infographics
by Eben Diskin Jul 13, 2018

It’s hard to imagine how people lived their day-to-day lives in 1200 BC, but this chart of ancient currencies makes it easier to picture what the scene at the local market may have looked like.

ancient currencies chart

Photo: Imgur

An ancient Greek may have strolled up to the bazaar, purchased a sack of furs, and handed the vendor a few dekadrachm emblazoned with the image of a Greek foot soldier. The coins of ancient Rome, however, feature images of senators and emperors, rather than soldiers, and are likely the most widely traveled coins in the world, having been found as far away as Japan.

China’s currency has remained remarkably consistent for more than two thousand years. A round coin with a square hole, the currency has only seen changes to the script, the metals used, and the weight. The Haudenosaunee people of North America have also used the same currency for over a thousand years. The wampum was initially used by the native Iroquois peoples in ceremonies as a way of presenting one’s credentials, and it was later adopted by Europeans as currency.

If you were wondering who was the first to utilize gold and silver coins, it was the Lydians of Asia Minor. The world’s oldest coin is a Lydian coin called the stater, made of a gold and silver mixture, and it’s over 2,700 years old.

Discover Matador