Time Period For Ancient Coins

Time Period for Ancient Coins. Ancient coins come from the Roman, Greek, and Medieval time periods. There are a number of cultures that get thrown into the term ancient coin collecting. The most recognizable...

There are a number of cultures that get thrown into the term ancient coin collecting. The most recognizable are Greek and Roman. Greek coins generally run from about 600 b.c. up until the period when the Romans conquered Greece in the late first century b.c. The Roman period starts a little before that, because the Romans struck coins in Italy and other places before they expanded their control over the Mediterranean. They run from about 220 years b.c. until the end of the Roman Empire, which was about 476 a.d. or so.

After Rome was sacked, imitative coins were still produced by various Barbarian tribes that occupied the city from time to time. The Romans did not simply vanish. They continued to have a pretty strong hold on the eastern part of their empire which was ruled out of Constantinople. They called it the Byzantine Empire from that point on. From about the late 5th century up until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, we find a series of coins called Byzantine coins that are also considered ancient.

There is quite a span of time for ancient coin collecting running from about 600 b.c. to the 5th century. That period overlaps what we think of as the medieval period creating a bit of a problem in people's mind. Where does the ancient period end and medieval begin? There really is no cutoff, and you'll find that it depends a lot on where you are talking about. For example, coins in Europe are thought of as medieval almost from the fifth century, but coins struck in the east at Constantinople under the Byzantines are generally thought of as ancient. The long answer to a short question is that there really is no rule of thumb.

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