What Were Ancient Greek Coins Called?

Ancient Greek coins are most commonly referred to as drachmas. Around the eighth century B.C., the majority of the ancient Greek city-states began to move away from a barter system to the use of silver coins called drachmas. Drachma means "a handful."

As the use of these silver coins spread throughout the Peloponnesian region, each city-state customized the mark on their coins. Athens, for example, struck an owl on its coins; Athena was the patron goddess of the city, and her symbol was the owl. Coins from the island city-state of Rhodes depicted a rose, known as a "rhoden" in ancient Greek.