As collectors of ancient coins I feel that we sometimes forget that the little discs of metal we collect were used in day to day financial transactions. Certainly when I look at a tetradrachm to buy on VCoins or at an auction, I don't stop and think "How many liters of dates or pounds of bronze could my coin buy in 261 BCE?" As general rule of thumb in the ancient world, and indeed until the time of industrialized farming, most of a person's salary would have been spent on food. While manufactured goods would have been very expensive due to the fact that they all had to be made by hand. In addition prices generally fluctuated from region to region and depended on the quality of local harvests. Luckily we have a decent picture of what prices were in the Roman Republic/Empire due to the large amount of surviving source material. Unfortunately the early to mid Hellenistic age is not as lucky, as very few documents survive intact from the period. One of the few surviving documents from the early Seleucid Empire are the Babylonian Astrotronomical Diaries written in cuniform by Babylonian priests and astronomers. Author R.J. van der Spek published an article on the commodities of ancient Babylon based on his observations reading the diaries. I am glad that Van der Spek took the time to read through the diaries as they are about as interesting as getting a tooth extracted. The most interesting thing I've gleaned from Van Der Spek's paper is that shekels(roughly a didrachm) were very high valued coins. Here are some excerpts from his paper: In 321 BCE workmen were paid 4 shekels( 2 tetradrachms or 8 drachms) per month to clean up debris of a temple in Babylon. "...assumption that wages in the Seleucid period were somewhere between 1 and 4 shekels per month for the common wage earner.." One shekel(Didrachm) could purchase 180 liters of barley grain. An average scribe earned roughly 2 shekels( 1 teradrachm) per month of service. "Small change is a recurrent problem in Antiquity, in Greece as well as in Babylonia. Other products than silver functioned as money, especially barley. As a matter of fact: wages were very often paid in barley. Silver was accepted as the more or less fixed reference point, so it was useful to know what the exchange value of barley was in relation to the shekel." "prices during Alexander and especially during the wars of the successors (330-300) are exceptionally high, that during the Seleucid rule (300 - 141) the prices despite some disturbances are fairly stable, tend to decrease rather than to rise, and that only the coming of the Parthians created a new equilibrium of much higher prices." I have no new coins to show off, but here are two coins that would have circulated in Seleucia/Babylon at the time. Seleucus I Nikator AR Stater(double shekel) 311-281 BCE 15.89 grams and Antiochus II Theos Tetradrachm Struck 261-246 BCE at Seleucia on the Tigris 16.87 grams 28mm in diameter. Obverse depicts Antiochus II's father, Antiochus I Soter. Sources http://www.iisg.nl/hpw/babylon.php I warn you, this is pretty dry read! http://www.attalus.org/docs/diaries.html Feel free to post anything related to Babylon or ancient prices!