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Ships and Galleys on Ancient Greek and Roman Coins
As you sit and marvel at the piece of history in your hand, you can almost place yourself inside the seafaring vessel and feel the feelings and almost see the sights the ancients went through. The ancient Greek and Roman empires and kingdoms were well inter-connected via the sea route and would have major trade going on between them. An example is that ancient Egypt was a major source of grain supply for the people of ancient Rome. They used ships and galleys to go between each place to spread culture, ideas, goods and even domination. The ancient Romans got major influences from the Greeks which they adapted via the trade and conquests they achieved hundreds of years BC. This article is meant to be as a survey of the types of ancient coins that depicted ships on them.
What is interesting is that there was a major turning point in Western history that had to do with a ship battle that emperor Augustus' general Agrippa fought against Mark Antony, whom was commanding the fleet of the famous Egyptian queen Cleopatra. This battle in 31 B.C. Actium was the turning point which left the power of the Roman Empire in the hands of one man alone, Augustus. It is interesting to note for example, that the only biological son that Julius Caesar had was growing up under the care of Cleopatra, and if orders were not sent to eliminate him, there would be a rival to the power Augustus had.
It is interesting to also note that ships were depicted on coins of many Greek cities, such as Sidon, Askalon and on coins of King Demetrios Poliorcetes of Macedon, and so much more. The study of ships all on its own could occupy many volumes. The topic had been the focal point of many ancient coin collections.