Greece is recognized internationally for its architectural marvels such as the Acropolis, but the European country may be more currently known for its recent economic instability, looming on the brink of default. As the European debit crisis continues to broil, discussions swirl about whether or not to return Greece to its former currency – the Drachma – that financial officials say would allow market forces to set the country’s wage levels. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain – Europe’s PIIGS nations – have felt the most painful tremors of the crisis, and the economic powerhouse of Germany has been whistled in to bailout weaker nations.
Despite the trouble, the Drachma has a rich history that has spread throughout the Hellenistic world and the influences of Alexander the Great. This is our first post in our new series about “currency culture,” where we’ll examine the history of different world currencies and how they’ve played a role in popular culture. With an Olympic-sized introduction, here are some interesting facts about the Drachma:
- In the beginning, the drachma was a handful of six metal sticks used as a form of currency as early as 1100 BC.
- Reintroduced in 1832, replacing the phoenix after the establishment of the modern state Greece.
- Derived from the Greek word drássomai, which means “to grasp.”
- Also a small unit of weight.
- Large round coins made of gold or silver.
- Symbols include Δρχ., Δρ. or ₯
- Embossed with images of various Greek Gods.
- There was a 1981 episode of “The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang” called “The 20,000 Drachma Pyramid.”
- In the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” video game (based off the 2010 fantasy film), drachmas aren’t used as currency, but instead as equipment for characters. There are 20 drachmas for collection in the game.
- In 2002, the drachma ceased because of the euro’s introduction.
For some hope that the Euro crisis will be solved soon and Greece will regain momentum, we can remember some wise words from Aristotle. “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light,” the great philosopher said.
Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.