What paid off in ancient Russia
Before the appearance of their coins in Russia, Roman denarius, Arab dirhams, and Byzantine solidis also went. In addition, it was possible to pay with the seller and fur. Of all these things, the first Russian coins emerged.
The first coin minted in Russia was called silversmith. Even before the baptism of Russia, during the reign of Prince Vladimir, it was cast from silver of Arab dirhams, in which an acute shortage began to be felt in Russia. And there were two designs of silversmiths. At first they copied the image of the Byzantine coins of solid: on the obverse was the prince sitting on the throne, and on the reverse side - the Pantocrator, i.e. Jesus Christ. Soon the silver money was redesigned: instead of the face of Christ, the patrimonial sign of Rurikovich’s trident began to be minted — a trident was placed around the portrait of the prince: “Vladimir on the table, and that's his silver” (“Vladimir on the throne, and this is his money”).
Along with silversmith, Prince Vladimir minted and similar coins of gold - gold or zolotniki.They, too, were made in the manner of Byzantine solidis and weighed about four grams. In spite of the fact that there were very few of them, just a little more than a dozen goldmen came to this day - their name is firmly entrenched in popular sayings and proverbs: the spool is small, but weighty. The spool is small, gold is weighing, the camel is great, and water is being carried. Nedolya poods, the share of spools. The trouble comes poods, and leaves the spools.
At the turn of the 9th-10th centuries, a fully domestic currency unit, the hryvnia, appeared in Russia. The first hryvnia was weighty ingots of silver and gold, which were more like a weight standard than money - it was possible to measure the weight of the precious metal by it. Kiev hryvnia weighed about 160 grams and resembled a hexagonal ingot in shape, and the Novgorod hryvnia was a long bar weighing about 200 grams. Moreover, the hryvnia were in circulation and the Tatars - in the territory of the Volga region was known "Tatar hryvnia", made in the form of a boat. The hryvnia received its name from the women's jewelry - a golden bracelet or a hoop that was worn around the neck - the neck or the mane.
The equivalent of a modern penny in ancient Russia was veksha. Sometimes it was called squirrel or veveritsy. There is a version that, along with a silver coin, there was a dressed winter skin of a squirrel, which was its equivalent, in circulation. There are still disputes over the well-known phrase of the chronicler about what the Khazars took as a tribute from the fields, northerners and Vyatichi: a coin or a squirrel “from smoke” (at home). To accumulate on the hryvnia, the old Russian man would need 150 wekshey.
In the Russian lands went and eastern Dirham. He, as well as the European denarius, which was also popular, was called kuna in Russia. There is a version that originally Kuna was the skin of a marten, squirrel or fox with a princely stigma. But there are other versions related to the foreign origin of the name Kuna. For example, many other peoples who had a Roman denarius in circulation have a name that is consonant with the Russian kuna for the coin, for example, the English coin.
The problem of exact calculation in Russia was solved in its own way. For example, they cut the skin of a marten or other fur-bearing animals, thereby fitting a piece of fur to one or another value. Such pieces were called slashes.And since the fur-bearing skin and the Arab dirham were equivalent, they divided the coin into pieces. To this day, halves and even quarters of dirhams are found in ancient Russian treasures, because the Arabian coin was too large for small trade deals.
Another small coin was a foot - it cost about a twentieth of the hryvnia. Its name is usually associated with the Estonian nahat - fur. In all likelihood, the foot was also originally a fur of some animal. It is noteworthy that in the presence of all sorts of small money, every thing they tried to associate with their money. The “Word of the Regiment of Igor”, for example, says that if Vsevolod were on the throne, then the slave would be the price “at the foot”, and the slave would be “according to the cut”.