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by Archaeology Newsroom

The coinage of Euboea

Due to its geographic position Euboea played a significant role in the development of navigation and trading abroad from the ninth century BC. The Euripos straits were an important and convenient sea route leading from central Greece to the Aegean islands. Chalkida, Eretria and Karystos issued their coins in the last quarter of the sixth century BC in order to compete with the power of the neighbouring Athens, while Istiaia, famous for its grape, issued its coins much later, in the middle of the fourth century BC. The circulation of the archaic coins of Chalkida and Eretria coincides with that of the Wappenmunzen and the archaic “owls” of Athens. They are rare issues,having mainly been used in Euboea and Attica and their discovery in Eastern treasure troves is quite significant for the study of their circulation. In the middle of the fifth century BC when Athens had become a great economic and political power, the cities of Euboea came under its influence. The local mints closed and the circulation of coins is carried out exclusively in the form of Athenian tetradrachma. After the defeat of the Athenians in Sicily, in the fourth century BC, the Euboean cities instigated the Euboean’s Commons and issued coins of the alliance in 370 BC.The local mints reopened later, around 338 BC. After the battle of Chaeroneia the Euboean’s Commons came to an end. The Macedonian phase is the richest in numismatic finds. The general conclusion reached by the study of these finds is that Athenian coins as well as coins of the Commons and of the various local mints circulated together with coins of central Greece, Boeotia, Lokrida, Phokida, coins of the Macedonian kings and of the island of Rhodes.

In the second century BC the cities of Euboea were in a state of agitation due to the three Macedonian wars, therefore the local mints have a limited production. Coins of the Aetolian and Achaian League as well as New Style tetradrachma of Athens are in circulation. Also worth noting is also the circulation of bronze coins of the Euboean’s Commons along with coins of Thessaly, Boeotia, Athens and Macedonia.