Skip to comments.Top Egyptian Daily: Joseph’s Era Coins Found in Egypt
Posted on 09/25/2009 3:30:52 PM PDT by STD
Top Egyptian Daily: Josephs Era Coins Found in Egypt (IsraelNN.com) "...discovered many charms from various eras before and after the period of Joseph, including one that bore his effigy as the minister of the treasury in the Egyptian pharaoh's court
" An Egyptian paper claims that archaeologists have discovered ancient Egyptian coins bearing the name and image of the Biblical Joseph.
(Excerpt) Read more at IsraelNN.com ...
Excerpts from the Al-Ahram report, as translated by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):
"In an unprecedented find, a group of Egyptian researchers and archeologists has discovered a cache of coins from the time of the Pharaohs. Its importance lies in the fact that it provides decisive scientific evidence disproving the claim by some historians that the ancient Egyptians were unfamiliar with coins and conducted their trade through barter.
"The researchers discovered the coins when they sifted through thousands of small archeological artifacts stored in [the vaults of] the Museum of Egypt. [Initially] they took them for charms, but a thorough examination revealed that the coins bore the year in which they were minted and their value, or effigies of the pharaohs [who ruled] at the time of their minting. Some of the coins are from the time when Joseph lived in Egypt, and bear his name and portrait. http://www.IsraelNN.com
The old testament speaks of Joseph...”returning the “money” back to his brothers’ sacks of grain. Obviously some type of coinage was being used at that time.
Yup, the Old testament is Gospel brother!
Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
Coins were an invention of the Lydians c.700 BC, over 700 years later than Joseph, and their use spread from there. Had coins been an earlier invention, their earlier use would have been ubiquitous.
(I have a fair acquaintance with numismatics.)
see post 5
I don’t know much about the history of coinage, but since the source of the article is an Egyptian newspaper, and there doesn’t seem to be any independant verification, it does make me wary.
Even if this is legitimate, I have a couple doubts. The article says the coins bear dates when they were minted. Dates according to what calendar? For all we know they could say “3rd year of the reign of Pharoah XXX”, which would not necessarily give us a reliable date on our modern calendars, or a reliable correlation to Biblical events. Also, they interpret a coin with a picture of a cow to represent Pharoah’s dream of the 7 fat cows and 7 lean cows. Now, if the coin had a bunch of cows on it, maybe I can see that interpretation. But for a single “cow”, I think anyone with a basic familiarity with ancient Egypt would probably think it more likely to represent the Apis Bull (Golden Calf), which is a very common motif.
Also see here.
Did anyone see those ruins in Egypt that seemed to be huge granaries? I wondered if they were dated to the time of Joseph but never heard anything more about them.
I’m aware historians have long claimed that the ancient Lydians invented coinage (I also used to collect coins, although I suspect not as studiously as you), based on the fact that (i) that’s what the Ancient Greeks believed and (ii) the oldest gold and silver coins that have been found were from ancient Lydia. However, isn’t it possible that the Greeks did not know about Egyptian coins, and that modern scholars did not recognize Egyptian coins as such because they assumed that they must have been something else?
As for use of coins becoming widespread had the ancient Egyptians invented them, that wouldn’t necessarily be the case. I’m sure that there were lots of things developed by the ancient Egyptians that surrounding cultures never adopted (mummification comes to mind), and the same could be true for coins, especially if the Egyptians themselves abandoned their use a few decades or centuries after they invented them. If that was the case, then the Lydians would have “invented” coinage just as much as if the Egyptians had never minted coins, since the Lydians would have developed the idea without any influence from the Egyptians.
Think of our own use of paper currency—we used it during the Revolutionary period, abandoned it, and didn’t bring it back until the Civil War. Couldn’t the ancient Egyptians have used coins during a period of scarcity (when there wasn’t enough grain or whatever to be bartered) and then their use eventually fell out of favor? It’s certainly possible.
Or you’re correct and they’re forgeries. But if they are, how would you explain the existence of hundreds of similar ancient coin-like objects in Egyptian museums (assuming that the article is correct about that)? Surely those wouldn;t all be forgeries as well.
I’ll know it’s true when I hear it from George Noory :-)
If you are prepared to deny the old testament, then what you say about the Lydians is true...(now these coins that these”scholars” found may well be fakes).
There was some type of coinage or silver/gold pieces being used at the time of Josph because the story of Joseph mentions money. It also mentions the people of Egypt having exhausted their..”money”, sold themselves to Pharoah and their lands into bondage so that they might live. Joseph established the “flat tax” that 1/5th of all agricultural production would be ceded to Pharoah while the population could keep 4/5ths for themselves. You can bet the “money’ wasn’t just simple lumps of metal but shaped and imprinted.
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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First, you have to know what a coin is. The numismatic definition, as stated in Webster’s is, “A small piece of metal, usually flat and circular, authorized by a government for use as money.” Another attribute not in Webster’s but usually associated with coins is that they have a standardized value. (and weight when most coins were of precious metal and worth that weight in metal as minted) That distinguishes a coin from medals and other bits of metal or other materials valued strictly by weight or other intrinsic characteristics.
The first coins imprinted with identifying marks by a government to be used as a standard medium of exchange were from Lydia in the 8th Century BC. All other “money” or medium of exchange before that was privately made and the design on it, if any, carried no significance.
That said, there was nothing issued by governments and therefore images glorifying the head of state or other officials would have been completely meaningless and pointless.
I think any money accepted by the Egyptians, would had to had standardized value and would have been acceptable to the government and been authorized by Pharoah for payment. Plenty of scritural passages that speak of money and ‘talent’s of being payed for slaves and obligations excetera.... before 800 BC! You think these were just lumps metal that didn’t have inscriptions on them? The Lydians may have gone about standardizing coinage in a more systematic way, in ways we are familiar with, but I doubt they were the first ones to actually use coins in the payment of debts and obligations.