Abstract and Keywords
The coins of the Phoenician city-states were struck in the fifth and fourth centuries bce. Influenced by coins struck in Greece and eastern Greece, Sidon, Tyre, Byblos, and Aradus struck coins in silver and bronze. These coins functioned as the “small change” for the gold coins struck by the imperial mint of Achaemenid Persia. The production of these coins aided in everyday commerce and in the collection of tariffs and taxes. Early studies of these coins were inevitably connected to the great royal collections of Europe in London and Paris. Major studies of these coins appeared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More recent archaeological discoveries in Lebanon have included an inscription which expanded knowledge of the king list of the Phoenician city of Sidon in the fifth and fourth centuries bce. New historical sources such as this inscription published by Maurice Dunand in 1965 have enabled scholars to propose new and more accurate chronologies for the earliest coins of the Phoenicians. Sidon was the largest of the Phoenician mints, with coins struck between the late fifth century and the coming of Alexander the Great in 332 bce. Tyre, Aradus, and Byblos also struck coins, and together with those of Sidon, provided the denominations required to fuel the Phoenician (and therefore Persian) economy of the period. These coins enabled the Phoenician city-states to compete more favorably with their Greek and East Greek neighbors to the west. The coins of Tyre undoubtedly inspired the Tyrian colony of Carthage to strike coins beginning late in the fourth century bce.
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