Reply: Athenian Tetradrachm
Whereas the Historic Greeks can’t lay declare to inventing video games of probability, or the concept of letting destiny determine by flipping a coin, they’ll not less than lay declare to influencing what we are saying when flipping a coin. For hundreds of years, the Greeks minted essentially the most recognizable coin within the historic world (and positively essentially the most recognizable historic coin as we speak): the “Athenian tetradrachm”.
The coin was fairly distinctive because it was the biggest silver coin of its day, thick and heavy within the hand, and struck with an impression of the goddess Athena on one aspect and her patron animal, the owl, on the opposite. The coin was used for enterprise and in excessive worth transactions all through the empire for over 4 hundred years, and the “head” (Athena’s profile), and the “tail” (her owl), had been immediately recognizable options of the coin. A coin that was flipped landed, naturally, on both the pinnacle or the tail, and the terminology caught round even when folks had been talking of cash with out an apparent head and tail.
Picture courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.