Tetradrachm of Seleucus I
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Tetradrachm of Seleucus I, 300""280 B.C.; Seleucid. Iran, excavated at Pasargadae Silver Money""as a means of exchange, a mode of payment, and a standard of value""was in use in the ancient Near East long before the invention of coinage in Lydia during the seventh century B.C. Early Mesopotamian texts record payments of silver weighed in shekels (about 8.3 grams), minas (about 500 grams), and talents, or donkey-loads (about 30 kilograms), but the value of objects was also converted into equal-value weights of grain, copper, and tin. The connection between money and weight continued in coins; a drachm, for example, weighed about 4.3 grams, a tetradrachm (4 drachms) about 17 grams