The barbarians and their coins

The barbarians and their coins…

In Roman times it was considered that the civilized world was formed by those parts of the world occupied or ruled by the Roman emperors. The peoples that were left outside the Roman borders were generally nomadic tribes and they were called barbarians, word that a principle wanted only to say foreigners or outsiders.

However, in the course of the battles, many barbarians were so cruel and fierce fighting that the word acquired little by little the meaning of savage, its current meaning.

Many of the barbarian tribes were native to the east and the first time they met the coin was when they crossed the Danube valley in search of new lands. The coins that they knew then were the estáteras of gold of Philip of Macedonia, the gold coin of greater circulation in antiquity.

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The model: the estáters of Philip

Then, the imitations were copied over and over again until they ended up looking very little like the original primitive.

The coins of Philip show a head of Apollo on the obverse and a Auriga driving a biga (wagon pulled by two horses) on the reverse side. By the time the copies arrived in Britain, in the year 100 BC approximately, Apollo had become a tiny face, with a great deal of hair, and on the reverse was hardly a half-dismembered horse.

However, it is very possible that some of these abstractions were intentional and that they had a mystical or mythological meaning that is unknown to us.

Westward expansion

As the different tribes were settling along the Roman borders, they began to receive continuously Roman coins, sometimes achieved by trade, others as loot and others as bribery by the emperor to conserve Calm the borders.

In the year 476, after the fall of Romulus, the last emperor of the West, the Barbarian tribes (goths, vandals and Huns) spread throughout western Europe. As they dominated vast extensions of Italy, Gaul, Spain and North Africa, the barbarian invaders divided the imperial domains into a large number of small kingdoms and began to coin their own currency by copying the Roman.

A singular currency… Marijuana-smelling!!..

To enjoy up to 40 times the fragrance of marijuana, it is enough to take one of the coins that the African Republic of Benin issued in 2010 in commemoration of the therapeutical profits of Cannabis Sativa, a plant from which you get the “leaf of laughter “. Without a doubt, one of the most peculiar and grotesque coins of numismatic history, of which were emitted 2,500 units that were part of a series on famous plants of the world that also included coins with smell of rose or lily.

Just 15 cents of euro
This one, in particular, had a value of 100 Central African francs (CFA), which amounted to about 15 euro cents. It was also made from a wafer of 27 grams of weight of a nickel alloy and copper coated with a silver coating.

Apart from the smell of marijuana, the coin includes a spectacular drawing of the leaf of Cannabis Sativa in full color and, as we said at the beginning, we can scratch up to 40 times to give off a smell even more intense than usual, before it loses completely Its fragrance.

Obviously, these currencies were not of legal course, so they disappeared within a few days of its issuance, although it is still possible to get some copy of the coin with which Bob Marley had dreamed.

The pioneering African Monetary union

It surprised its emission, which managed to situate the tiny state of Benin on the map, a small republic that in times of the French colonization responded to the name of Dahomey, nomination which also retained since its independence, in 1960.

It would not be until 1975 when the country adopted the name of the Republic of Benin, taking as reference the Bay of Benin, on whose coast is located this small country, whose current population barely reaches the eight million inhabitants.

As for its currency, the CFA, it should be noted that this is the currency of the monetary union of the West African States, which also belongs to the former French colonies of Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. In this sense, the currencies are issued by the Central Bank of the West African States (BCEAO), precursor of the European Central Bank (ECB).

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