The stater (// or //; Ancient Greek: στατήρ IPA: [statɛ̌ːr], literally "weight") was an ancient coin used in various regions of Greece. The term is also used for similar coins, imitating Greek staters, minted elsewhere in ancient Europe.
The stater, as a Greek silver currency, first as ingots, and later as coins, circulated from the 8th century BC to 50 AD. The earliest known stamped stater (having the mark of some authority in the form of a picture or words) is an electrum turtle coin, struck at Aegina that dates about 700 BC. It is on display at the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris. According to Robin Lane Fox, the stater as a weight unit was borrowed by the Euboean stater weighing 16.8 grams from the Phoenician shekel, which had about the same weight as a stater (7.0 grams) and was also a fiftieth part of a mina.
The silver stater minted at Corinth of 8.6 grams weight was divided into three silver drachmas of 2.9 grams, but was often linked to the Athenian silver didrachm (2 drachma) coin weighing 8.6 grams. In comparison, the Athenian silver tetradrachm was weighing 17.2 grams. Staters were also struck in several Greek city-states such as, Aegina, Aspendos, Delphi, Knossos, Kydonia, many city-states of Ionia, Lampsacus, Megalopolis, Metapontium, Olympia, Phaistos, Poseidonia, Syracuse, Thasos, Thebes and more. For example, one silver coin struck in Kydonia was that of a stater featuring the Minoan goddess Britomartis.
There also existed a "gold stater", but it was only minted in some places, and was mainly an accounting unit worth 20-28 drachms depending on place and time, the Athenian unit being worth 20 drachmas. (The reason being that one gold stater generally weighed roughly 8.5 grams, twice as much as a drachma, while the parity gold: silver, after some variance, was established as 1:10) The use of gold staters in coinage seems mostly of Macedonian origin. The best known types of Greek gold staters are the 28 drachma Kyzikenos from Cyzicus.
Celtic tribes brought the concept to Western and Central Europe after obtaining it while serving as mercenaries in north Greece. Gold and silver staters were minted in Gaul by Gallic chiefs modelled after those of Philip II of Macedonia, which were brought back after serving in his armies, or those of Alexander and his successors. Celtic staters were also minted in present day Czech Republic and Poland. The conquests of Alexander extended Greek culture east, leading to the adoption of staters in Asia. Gold staters have also been found from the ancient region of Gandhara from the time of Kanishka.
- Coin images
- Ancient coinage of Aegina. snible.org. Retrieved on 2011-02-10.
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- Catalogue of Greek coins, A. Baldwin, Boston, 1955
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- Prabha Ray Himanshu (2006-06-01). Coins in India. Marg Publications. ISBN 978-81-85026-73-2.