AE Unit. 4.48g, 21.2mm
MINTED: ELIS, Olympia, mid-late 2nd century BC
REF: Cf. BCD Olympia 302-5; HGC 5, 545
OBVERSE: Laureate head of Zeus right.
REVERSE: FAΛ/EI/ΩN in three lines within wreath.
Fine. Dark brown surfaces. Some roughness.
The ethnic FAΛEIΩN translates from the local dialect into “of the Elians”.
Olympia, a small town in the region of Elis on the Peloponnese peninsula, was the site of the ancient Olympics, sacred games dedicated to Zeus that were held there once every four years from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. During the Games, athletes from the numerous city-states of Greece would travel to Olympia under protection of an Olympic Truce between their cities to participate in various competitions. The Games were of great cultural and religious importance to the Greeks, and winners of the competitions won for themselves great fame and brought honour to their cities.
When the Games were being held, the town would see many thousands of visitors from around Greece who would go to the competitions as spectators, visit festive markets, and attend concerts. As no foreign coinage would be accepted, all the visitors to Olympia during this time would have to exchange their own currency for coins issued by the city.
ELIS, Olympia . Mid-Late 2nd century BC . AE21 . Coinage from the Olympic city
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