Dating the drachmas in Solon's laws

Gil Davis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Can the drachmas in the 'laws of Solon 'be explained as silver weights, used in the Athenian economy as a silver standard before the adoption of coinage in the second half of the sixth century BCE? I believe the answer is a firm no. In this paper I marshal historical, archaeological, numismatic and literary evidence to demonstrate that pre-Peisistratid Athens had an essentially agrarian economy in which local trade was usually denominated in barley, and weighed silver was used only to a limited extent in foreign trade and travel. It was the expanding trade of the Peisistratid era that led to the adoption of coinage, following a well-established Ionian model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-158
Number of pages32
JournalHistoria - Zeitschrift fur Alte Geschichte
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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