The Black Sea: A History In Six Coins (Six-Coin Box)

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Eight thousand years ago, the Black Sea was a freshwater lake, its waters flowing down to the Mediterranean via the Bosporus. Then an ice shelf in Antarctica suddenly collapsed and melted, and the flow of water abruptly and catastrophically changed direction. The Black Sea became brackish, and much larger, expanding to the north and west at the rate of a mile a day. Scientists believe that the cataclysmic displacement of water led to the cataclysmic displacement of people, and out of the chaos, agricultural was born. It is also thought that the Black Sea deluge was the historical basis for the ancient flood myths.-

-The Black Sea is indeed dark in color, but the name derives from the old Turkic scheme of applying colors to the cardinal directions. (White is west, Blue is east, Black is north, Red is south—hence Red Sea.) It was the center of the universe to the people who lived in that corner of the world. And now, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Black Sea is once again in the middle of everything.-

-This boxed collection features six historical coins from kingdoms, empires, and nations that have bordered what the ancient Greeks called the Inhospitable Sea:-

-1/ Pontus, bronze unit (ca. 2nd century BCE)-Minted in the Black Sea city of Amisus, these bronze coins show the Gorgon, a key figure in Greek myth.-

-2/ Roman Empire, nummus (364-378)-These bronze coins were issued by the emperor Valens. By the end of the 4th century, the Empire was based in Constantinople, at the mouth of the Black Sea.-

-3/ Il-Khanate, silver dirham (1256-1353)-Mongol power that controlled Central Asia, including vast Black Sea coastal regions. This silver coin features Arabic script.-

-4/ Ottoman Empire, silver para (1774-89)-These small silver coins with ornate Turkish script were struck by the great caliph Abdul Hamid I during the height of Ottoman power.-

-5/ Empire of Russia, denga (1730-40)-The Romanov two-headed eagle is featured on the obverse of these copper coins issued during the reign of Empress Anna.-

-6/ Bulgaria, stotinka (1951)-The western shores of the Black Sea form the eastern border of Bulgaria, which boasts a number of towns on the coast, including Varna and Burgas. This coin is from the Soviet era.

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