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CLIP 11834

Gold coin of Croesus c550 BC (audio)

Gold coin of Croesus c550 BC (audio)

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Key Info
  • Gold coin of Croesus c550 BC (audio)
  • Duration: 13:00
  • Neil MacGregor introduces the development of ancient coinage systems. Croesus ruled Lydia (now modern Turkey) in the 6th century BC, developing a system of coinage that moved away from the use of impure metal to a currency that was under state control. MacGregor relates how the Lydian’s decision to use standardised weights and purity of metals in the coinage system enabled them to produce a more trustworthy currency, extend their trade with others and become a dominant financial power. The eventual fate of King Croesus, captured by the Persians, leads to a wider discussion of the role of money in both ancient and modern societies. This clip was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as part of the ‘History of the World in 100 Objects’ series. Please note this is an audio clip and only available in Flash.
  • Subject:

    Classical Studies


    World History and Archaeology

  • Keywords: coins, money, trade, finance, economics, politics, power, primary evidence, history, HistoryoftheWorld
Ideas for use in class
  • Students could use this as an introduction to considering the role of a stable monetary system within the wider development of power over the masses. This could also be used to lead into a discussion over the moral issues relating to the development of a world based upon financial strength as opposed to a reciprocal gift-giving society or one in which wealth is shared equally. Images of the object and further information, including a full transcription of the programme, can be found on the programme page:
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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