). We have spoken, under AES
of the use of bronze or copper
for money, which began in most parts of the Greek world about B.C. 400. At
Athens, the chalcus,
or copper par excellence,
is said by Pollux (9.65) to have
been equivalent to the eighth of an obol: in some other places it was the
sixth of an obol, and contained seven lepta.
The Scholiast to Aristophanes, Ranae,
that copper coins (χαλκία
) were first
issued at Athens in the archonship of Callias, B.C. 406; and Aristophanes
) seems to be speaking of them. In the
(816) the same writer speaks of the
demonetization of certain copper coins, and the reversion to a silver
currency. It seems likely that the coins referred to in both these passages
are the pieces still extant with the head of Athena on one side, and an owl
with two bodies and one head on the other, which resemble the silver diobols
of Athens. Coins of late period struck in Syria bear the inscription
which declares their value.
and other multiples of the
were also struck at Chios and other
places. When, however, bronze coins do not bear inscriptions stating their
value, the latter cannot with certainty be fixed.