Drachma

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Drachma, pl. drachmae. The name of this unit of Greek money is derived from the verb "to grasp."

1. Modern Greek currency, replaced by the Euro.

2. Ancient currency unit found in many Greek city states and successor states.

It is difficult to give even comparative values for money from before the 20th century. Classical historians regularly say that in the 5th century B.C. the daily wage for a laborer was one drachma. The Greek historian Polybius, writing about the Roman armies during the Carthaginian wars, says that the daily wage of a cavalryman was 1 drachma, while an infantryman received 2 obols (one third as much) -- this is besides their daily grain ration.

The 5th century Athenian 4 drachma piece had a profile bust of Athena on the front and her owl on the obverse.

6 obols = 1 drachma
100 drachmae = 1 mina
6000 drachmae = 1 talent (Athenian)

see Denarius


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