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
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.
--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 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.
--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
was the didrachm of about 194 grains; and among
the Corinthians the tridrachm of 135 grains, which was termed in Sicily
because it was
equal in value to ten Sicilian litrae. But the litra (q.
) 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
--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 Demosthenes speaks of a Cyzicene stater as
equivalent in value to 28 Attic drachms (ad v.
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
will be found for all of them. The common notion that the stater is
necessarily a didrachm is erroneous.