Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Museum of Cycladic Art

The Greek word for money, chrema, carries an English translation that falls short. It means ‘to need’ and ‘to use’ explains Nicholas Stampolidis, director of the Museum of Cycladic Art. It's latest exhibition is called, “Money: Tangible Symbols in Ancient Greece.”

The Athenian museum is exhibiting a display of 85 ancient coins from around the Mediterranean basin, Asia Minor and Central Asia. They date as far back as the 7th century BC.
The first Greek coin, produced on Aegina Island, is stamped with a sea turtle—chosen because it was the longest-living animal the islanders knew of. During Alexander the Great’s reign, his profile remained absent from any coin. A pupil of Aristotle, who warned against hubris, Alexander put the ancient gods on his coins instead. Alexander the Great’s successors had no such restraints.
In the first century BC, the port town of Delos was a tax haven attracting sea-faring trade.

A excavation in 1991 of a local tavern reveals broken wine jugs with a pile of coins with markings from dozens of different societies—the savings of prostitutes after servicing clients from around the world.