The coins of Aegina – known as turtles- were one of the most important coins in the ancient world.
The city-state of Aegina was, alongside Athens and Corinth, one of the city-states that issued the first silver Greek coins in the 7th BC century and spread the use of money in the then known world. More specifically, it was Aegina that first issued staters just before the mid 6th century BC. On the obverse of the first coins, there was a sea turtle depicted and on the reverse an incuse square divided in irregular shapes.
Turtles circulated in most areas of Greece, in Persia, Egypt and South Italy and they were considered as an international coin.
Aegina, an island 17 miles south of Athens was an important sea power and trade center.
About 456 B.C., after a long period of rivalry, Athens conquered Aegina. As a consequence, Aegina was forced to use the Athenian Owl coins. It was only after Athenians were defeated that Aegina mint began to strike turtles again. However the new turtles depicted not the sea turtle, tribute to the maritime standing of Aegina but the land turtle, showing problably the decline of Aegina's supremacy at sea.
The turtle, a symbol in many cultures and civilizations. One of the most ancient creatures, it has a resistance to...