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Where are all the Spartan coins?

Ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, photo by Edward Knapczyk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


Know Yourself (ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΑΥΤΟΝ == Gnothi Sauton), "Historia plerarumque partium humani corporis", Salomon Alberti, 1583, Lehman.


"ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΑΥΤΟΝ" was posted as an admonition at the entrance of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and before that attributed to others including Chilon, philosopher and councilor in the city-state of Sparta and one of the Seven Sages of Greece.

"Chilon of Lacedaemon, son of Damagetus, said: 1. Know yourself (γνῶθι σαυτόν). 2. When you drink do not speak too much: for you will commit a wrong. 3. Do not threaten free men; for that is not just...." 
- Early Greek Philosophy: Reflections On Gods and Men

In antiquity, the city-state of Lacedaemon (Λακεδαίμων) with Sparta as its main settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River was located in south-eastern Peloponnese. Sparta and Athens were on opposite sides of the Peloponnese Wars, so perhaps not surprising that there is also an Athenian credited with the same words of wisdom. An Athenian who was counted as one of the Seven Sages.

"Solon, son of Execestides, an Athenian philosopher, lawgiver and leader of the people. He flourished in the 47th Olympiad (592/89), according to others in the 56th (556/3). When the tyrant Pisistratus plotted against him, he spent time abroad in Cilicia and founded a city which he called Soloi after himself. [SKIP] He is also one of the Seven Sages, as they are called. The maxims “Nothing in excess” and “Know yourself” are said to be his.Sages, as they are called. The maxims “Nothing in excess” and “Know yourself” are said to be his."
- Solon, Testimonium 

While I have several coins from Athens including this Tetradrachm:


I don't have any coins from Sparta and there aren't many to have. The Spartans were opposed to the idea of coinage. Myth holds that their constitution forbade the possession and use of coinage within the city’s frontiers. At least they did not mint money.

The legend that the Spartan homoioi we forbidden to use any other money than iron, cannot bear examination, They always used money and there always were rich men in Sparta, - the Kings were supposed to be the richest men in Greece.  But they did not use Spartan money and there was no mint there until 280BC.
- Michell, H. “The Iron Money of Sparta.” Phoenix, vol. 1, 1947, pp. 42–44.

Lycurgus was the mythical author of the Spartan constitution, although there is debate about whether he was a man or a myth. Plutarch notes the enigma of Lycurgus.

"Concerning Lycurgus the lawgiver, in general, nothing can be said which is not disputed, since indeed there are different accounts of his birth, his travels, his death, and above all, of his work as lawmaker and statesman; and there is least agreement among historians as to the times in which the man lived."
-Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Lucurgus 1.1

The Spartan's approach to money is described by Xenophon:

"In other states, I suppose, all men make as much money as they can. One is a farmer, another a ship-owner, another a merchant, and others live by different handicrafts. But at Sparta Lycurgus forbade freeborn citizens to have anything to do with business affairs. He insisted on their regarding as their own concern only those activities that make for civic freedom. Indeed, how should wealth be a serious object there, when he insisted on equal contributions to the food supply and on the same standard of living for all, and thus cut off the attraction of money for indulgence’s sake."
-Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaemonians

This coin is as close as I get to a coin from Sparta : a coin from Mantineia where the largest land battle of the Peloponnesian War was fought. Sparta and its allies defeated an army here led by Argos and Athens 418 BCE (more that 230 years before this coin was issued).

Achaia. Antigoneia (Mantinea). Achaian League circa 188-180 BC. AR Triobol or Hemidrachm

Obv: Laureate head of Zeus right / Rev: League monogram, A-N across field, monogram below, all within wreath.

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