« PrécédentContinuer »
UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE FOR THE PEOPLE.
AMERICAN REVISED EDITION.
IN TEN VOLUMES.
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & Co.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
NUMISMATICS (Lat. nummus and numisma, money could be opened, closed, and linked in a chaio money; Gr. nomisma, from nomos, law, a medium for convenience of carriage. of exchange established by law), the science which The Lydians are supposed to have been the first treats of coins and medals. A coin is a piece of people who used coined money, about 700 or 800 years metal of a fixed weight stamped by authority of before the Christian era; and their example was government, and employed as a circulating medium. soon after followed by the different states of Greece, A medal is a piece struck to commemorate an the earliest Greek coins being those of Ægina. In event. The study of nunrismatics has au important its early stages the process of coining consisted in bearing on history. Coins have been the means placing a lump of metal of a fixed weight, and of ascertaining the names of forgotten countries approaching to a globular form, over a die, on which and cities, their position, their chronology, the was engraved the religious or national symbol to be succession of their kings, their usages civil, military, impressed. A wedge or punch placed at the back and religious, and the style of their art. On of the metal was held steadily with one hand, and their respective coins we can look on undoubtedly struck by a hammer with the other, till the metal accurate representations of Mithridates, Julius was sufficiently fixed in the die tu receive a good Cæsar, Augustus, Nero, Caracalla, and read their impression. The impression was a guarantee of the character and features.
weight of the piece. From the nature of the proThe metals which have generally been used for cess, the earliest coins had a lympish appearance, coinage are gold, silver, and copper. In each class and on their reverse was a rough, irregular, hollow is coniprised the alloy occasionally substituted for square, corresponding to a similar syuare on the it, as electrum (an alloy of gold and silver) for gold, punch, devised for the purpose of keeping the coin billon for silver, bronze for copper, and potin (an steady when struck by the coining hammer. The alloy softer than billon) for silver and copper. The original coins of Asia Minor were of gold, those of side of a coin which bears the most important device Greece of silver. The earliest coins bear emblems or inscription is called the obverse, the other side the of a sacred character, often embodying some legend
The words or letters on a coin are called regarıling the foundation of the state, as the phoca its inscription ; an inscription surrounding the or seal on the coins of the Phocians, which alludes boriler is called the legen.." When the lower part to the shoal of seals said to have followed the fleet of the reverse is distinctly separated from the main device, it is called the exergue (Gr. ex ergou, without the work), and often bears a secondary inscription, with the date or place of mintage. The field is the space on the surface of the coin unoccupied by the principal device or inscription.
The use of coined money cannot be traced further back than the 9th c. B.č. Money, however, as a medium of exchange, existed much earlier, and
Fig. 1 when of metal it passed by weight, no piece being adjustel to any precise weight, and all money being during the emigration of the people. Fig. 1. repro weighed when exchanged. Early metallic money sents a very early double stater of Miletus, in was in the form of bars, spikes, and rings; the ring lonia, of which the type is the lion's head, derived