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STATER (στατὴρ was the standard unit both of weight and (more especially) of money, corresponding to the Oriental word shekel. As the coins which were the standard units in various districts varied in metal and in weight, the term stater was applied in antiquity to a great variety of pieces of money. The Greeks would have called the sovereign, the dollar, and the rupee all staters.

Gold Staters.--The earliest coins struck in gold were the Lydian pieces attributed to Croesus, stamped with the fore parts of a lion and a bull, and weighing about 130 grains. These were called στατῆρες Κροίσειοι: they were succeeded by the Persian gold coins of the same weight, called Darics or στατῆρες Δαρεικοί. About B.C. 400 Athens, Rhodes, Olynthus, and other cities began the issue of gold staters of nearly the same weight (about 133 grains) and this weight was also preserved in the gold

Gold Stater of Alexander.

staters of Philip and Alexander of Macedon and the successors of Alexander. Thus the gold stater was almost invariably in antiquity an Attic or Euboic didrachm [PONDERA] and of the metal value of about 23 shillings. Mr. Ridgeway has in the Journal of Hellenic Studies (vols. viii., ix.) produced evidence that the gold stater was originally regarded as representing the value of an ox.

Silver Staters.--As in Greece proper silver, not gold, was the staple of the currency, the stater was in the cities of that district of silver. Among the Aeginetans the stater, στατὴρ Αἰγιναῖος, was the didrachm of about 194 grains; and among the Corinthians the tridrachm of 135 grains, which was termed in Sicily δεκάλιτρος στατήρ, because it was equal in value to ten Sicilian litrae. But the litra (q. v.) was also in Sicily called a stater, as being a local measure of value. In Italy the coins which would elsewhere have been termed staters were called numi: as the Tarentine numus, and the Roman denarius and sestertius. At Athens the term stater was applied not only to the gold didrachm, but also to the silver tetradrachm, at all events in later times; and as in the Roman age the Attic drachm was regarded as equivalent to the denarius, and the denarius was the eighth part of a Roman ounce in weight, the stater or tetradrachm was stated to be of the weight of half an ounce. Similarly the Ptolemaic and Hebrew staters were tetradrachms of silver.

Electrum Staters.--The coins in electrum issued in early times by the Greek cities of Asia Minor were commonly spoken of as staters. Thus we frequently read in Attic inscriptions entries of στατῆρες Φωκαϊκοί, Λαμψακηνοι, and Κυζικηνοι, and Demosthenes speaks of a Cyzicene stater as equivalent in value to 28 Attic drachms (ad v. Phorm. p. 914): there are reasons for thinking that it was of the same value as a Daric (Gardner, Numismatic Chronicle, 1887, p. 185). Cyzicene and Lampsacene staters (weight 248 grains) still exist in great abundance, but few Phocaic staters. Some electrum staters are figured under ELECTRUM

It has been impossible in this slight summary to quote the passages from ancient writers, Pollux, Hesychius, &c., on which the above statements are based. But by turning to στατὴρ in the index to Hultsch's Metrologici [p. 2.696]Scriptores, authority will be found for all of them. The common notion that the stater is necessarily a didrachm is erroneous.


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