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The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: Charting a New Empire

June 20–August 4, 2013

A New Form of Currency

Coin: Daric with "royal archer." Gold. Find spot unknown, acquired 1919. Achaemenid, 500–480 B.C. British Museum, London (1919,0516.15). Photograph © The Trustees of the British Museum. All rights reserved.

Coin: Siglos with "Royal Archer." Silver. Find spot unknown, acquired 1852. Achaemenid, 520–500 B.C. British Museum, London (1852,1027.2). Photograph © The Trustees of the British Museum. All rights reserved.

Coin: Stater with "Royal Archer" and Greek Inscription. Silver. Find spot unknown, acquired before 1892. Achaemenid, 410–370 B.C. British Museum, London (BMC Ionia 323,1). Photograph © The Trustees of the British Museum. All rights reserved.

The Achaemenid kings were introduced to coinage after Cyrus captured Sardis in 547/546 B.C., where the Lydians had already been using coins for about a century. Croesids, named after Croesus, the last king of Lydia, continued to be minted and circulated until the time of Darius, when new coins, such as the daric, and new weight standards were introduced. Local satraps (provincial governors) in different parts of the empire also minted their own coins, often mixing Iranian and Greek features.