Trihemitetartemorion: coin of Ephesus (Ionia; Ancient Greece)


Trihemitetartemorion, 5th century BC: Ephesus (Ionia; Ancient Greece)

Trihemitetartemorion, 5th century BC: Ephesus (Ionia; Ancient Greece)

The dating of the coin is very approximate.

There is also a problem with the exact identification of this coin. Some sources often call such coins hemiobol or even tetartemorion. However, I base my identification on the weight of my coin (0.26 g), which corresponds almost perfectly to the normative weight of the trihemitetartemorion denomination (0.27 g), while the hemiobol corresponds to a weight of 0.36 g and tetartemorion — 0.18 g.

Bee (in this particular image it looks like a spider…).

Eight-pointed star.

Other Ephesos coins are found with exactly the same Bee & Star motif, but they are of a different weight (accordingly, another denomination of the coin).

  • Silver: 7 mm - 0.26 g
  • Reference price: 55$

COIN TRIHEMITETARTEMORION — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
  1. ANCIENT GREECE (5th-3th centuries BC) — Ephesus (Ionia), Mallos (Cilicia), Mende (Chalcidice), Locris, Empúries...: trihemitetartemorion (0.27 g) = 3 hemitetartemorion (0.09 g) = 1.5 tetartemorion (0.18 g) = 0.75 hemiobol (0.36 g) = 0.5 tritetartemorion (0.54 g)...

Trihemitetartemorion (Ancient Greek "τριημιτεταρτημόριον") — small silver coin of Ancient Greece, equal to 1.5 of tetartemorion. The most common coins of this denomination are from the 5th-4th centuries BC.
In the case of ancient coins, it is often difficult to identify denominations, because no coin in those days contained an indication of its value. The face value of the coin was determined by its weight.
Trihemitetartemorion in the hierarchy of small denominations of Greek drachm is a coin weighing about 0.27 g.
It is the coin with the longest name, at least in my collection to date (among 500+ coin names).
What does this name mean? — In fact, the answer is extremely clear.
The word "trihemitetartemorion" (τριημιτεταρτημόριον) consists of several particles, each of which has its own meaning. Let's start the review from the end:
  • "tetartemorion" (τεταρτημοριον) — the name of a silver coin minted in Ancient Greece weighing 0.18 g, valued at 1/4 of an obol (0.72 g); its name means "quarter part" (from "τέταρτον", meaning "a fourth" and "μόριον", meaning "part")
  • "hemi" (ημι) is a common prefix among the names of ancient Greek coins, indicating the equality of half the value: for example, hemiobol (half of an obol), hemidrachm (half of a drachm), hemichalkon (half of a chalkon)...
  • "tri" (τρι) is similar to the above, but is already translated as three, thrice
Thus, the name of the coin trihemitetartemorion indicates its equality to three halves of the coin tetartemorion, which in turn is a quarter of an obol (respectively, trihemitetartemorion = 3/8 obol).