The Sestos Inscription

Why do cities mint coins?  One of the only written pieces of evidence we have from the ancient world is the ‘famous’ Sestos Inscription (OGIS 339).

From Hill 1899:


It is well discussed in a modern context by Katsari 2011 with up to date bibliography in footnote 22, missing only Le Rider 2001: 242-244.

Lines 43-51, translated by J. R. Melville-Jones in Testimonia Numaria, Greek and Latin Texts concerning Ancient Greek Coinage, Vol. I (1993), no. 377:

… and when the people had decided to use its own bronze coinage, in order that the city’s type (charakter) might have currency, and the city might receive the profit which would accrue from a revenue of such a kind, and had selected those who would preserve this position of trust piously and justly, Menas, chosen together with his colleague, discharged the appropriate responsibilities, as a result of which the people, through the righteousness and love of honour of these men, has the use of its own coinage.  And in the other offices and liturgies for which the people has selected him, he has presented himself as impartial and righteous …

Martin 1995:


I am officially back at work on my coin book project.  I’m editing my draft of chapter 1 right now and realized I needed to expand what I had to say about this inscription, hence the post.

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