Armenian Numismatics

Armenian NumismaticsToday, the subject of the Armenian numismatics affects many people, and it is worthy of consideration. 

As soon as a ruler stepped onto the throne in antiquity, he or she first initiated coinage to create money with his or her image.

Taking into account the possibilities of communications of this period, coinage played an important role in the propaganda of the victories and merits of every ruler.

It is known that under the reign of King Antiochus III the Great (223-187 BC) the military commander Artashes was appointed a governor of Armenia subordinate to the king of the Seleucid Empire.

After the battle of Magnesia, the influence of the Seleucids weakened, and Artashes, taking advantage of the situation, proclaimed himself a king and founded the Artashesian (Artaxiad) dynasty (189 BC-6 AD).

Coins of the first rulers of Artashesian dynasty did not reach our times. There is an opinion that the earliest coins of kings of the Artashesian dynasty were attributed to King Tigran I (123-96 BC). Those coins were made of copper.

Most of the found coins have been created in honor of King Tigranes II the Great (95-56 BC). There have been silver and copper coins portraying Tigranes.

Silver coins represented drachmas and tetradrachms (four drachmas), and copper ones represented chalkus coins. Those coins have been stamped at the mint of Armenia in Artashat and Tigranakert as well as in Antioch.

Starting from Tigran I, this tradition existed as long as the Artashesian dynasty did. During the reign of the dynasty, the coins were issued in accordance with the ancient monetary-weight system based on the Greek drachma (the inscriptions on the coins were written in Greek as well).

In ancient Armenia, the name of the silver coin was “dram”, which had been derived from the name of the Greek drachma. And today, the monetary unit of the Republic of Armenia is also called dram.

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