I generally don’t discuss politics, and I certainly don’t venture much onto the topic of Greek politics, but I have found myself recently talking about the drachma, the old Greek currency replaced by the Euro some years back.  I have even come up with a nice little catch-phrase, although I suppose I heard it elsewhere first: “The drachma was just fine for several thousand years”.  I pipe up with this, as you can imagine, during talks about Greece and the EU.

The Wiki article gives a pretty good idea of the history of this unit of money.  I always knew that the Armenian dram derived its name from the drachma but never made the connection with the dirham of Morocco and the UAE.  I have a pretty decent collection of coins from all over the world.  It started when my dad would bring back change from his business trips, and it is now at the point where if I find out someone is going to a country whose coins I don’t have I ask if they can bring back a few for me.  The UAE coins are in the part of the collection still at my ‘rents; I need to reclaim these along with other stuff that I have there (a process that will probably never end).

The coin names likely spread due to Alexander the Great’s travels.  It is amazing how remnants of his conquests and his successors’ rule have survived, whether it is in the DNA of the Kalash, places names like Kandahar, literary expressions like “Gordian knot”, or coinage from places like Morocco where Alexander never set foot.

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