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O´BOLUS (ὀβολός) was the sixth part of a drachm [see PONDERA, DRACHMA], whether as weight or coin. As a silver coin the obol was in circulation in Greece, Asia, and the West from early times, as well as its multiples the tetrobol, triobol (hemidrachm), and diobol. In the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. the fractions of an obol, the hemiobol, tetartemorion, &c., were issued in silver at Athens and other cities. About B.C. 400 copper coin began to be in use, and the

Obulus of Metapontum. (British Museum.)

obolus and its parts were issued in that metal. As an instance we figure a copper coin of Metapontum, identified as an obolus by its inscription. The metal value of the obolus varied according to the standard followed in its striking; it would be between one penny and twopence. In Athens the obolus contained 8 χαλκοῖ.


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