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The article examines the processes of monetary circulation in the Bosporan Kingdom in the general context of socio-political and economic processes of ancient Greek history. The origin of Bosporan coinage is considered through the interconnection of economic, political and cultural aspects, as well as taking into account the development of state structures and personal relations within the society. Particular attention is paid to the mixed type of the polymetallic model of currency system that was developed on the Bosporus. A mixed type of monetary circulation combines a “local” (closed) and “open” models. Both foreign currency (cyzicenes) and two categories of own coins were used in the domestic and foreign markets: gold staters are for international trade; silver and copper coins are for the domestic market only. The attempt was made to analyze the beginning of copper coinage as a phenomenon of fi at (credit) money, which allowed the issuer to assign an overrated coin value. The denomination of a copper coin was not perceived as a quantity of metal in a coin, as it was for silver and gold coins, but as a payment instrument for which the fi nal payment value was higher than the intrinsic value of the metal. Monetization of the Bosporan economy and commodity-money transactions was inextricably linked with copper coinage, which in its essence facilitated smallscale trade, replacing the barter trade (natural exchange) with cash transactions. The point of view that electrum stater of Kyzikos exchange rate did not depend on the estimated value of gold and silver in the coin, but was adjusted by market hence as the cyzicenes remained a stable currency of good quality until the last quarter of the 4th century BC is explained.


Cimmerian Bosporus, ancient coinage, bronze coins, cyzicenes, currency system, economy

Sergey N. Ostapenko

Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

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