The Metal of Hope

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From the Archives : Originally published July 12th, 2009
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Category : History of Gold





In history gold alone has been the money of Kings.  However, throughout most of recorded time there has been a metal far more important to the average man than gold.  In the ancient of days it was silver alone that could provide the means for a slave to save and eventually purchase his freedom which is why silver became referred to as the Metal of Hope.

And today, how much has changed?  To this day silver continues to give daily hope to people right around the world.  Modern medicine for example provides early detection, sustaining health and life to many millions and is built around the irreplaceable metal of silver.  X-rays and cardiograms are simply not possible without Silver.  The element of silver itself is known to provide direct medical benefits to the human body and exists to some degree in most of today's pharmaceutical drugs.

To the population living in ancient Athens, silver provided them with another form of hope; hope for their very survival.  The story starts in 490 BC when the army of Athenians unexpectedly defeated the powerful Persian army in the battle of Marathon.   For the Persians, Marathon was a humbling defeat and one they would not forget quickly.  In the 480s the threat of Persia's wrath grew like a dark and heavy storm cloud over the Athenians.  Almost daily new rumors would surface about the growing Persian danger.    

In 483 BC silver was discovered in Laurion, about 15 miles outside Athens.  The deposit turned out to be sizable with much of the silver mined being minted into drachma coins called Athena's Owls.  Themistocles, son of Neocles was a master strategist.  With Laurion's silver mines came the hope of future decisive victory and an end of the Persian tyranny.   Understanding that the battle would be won or lost at sea Themistocles used profits from the mine and issuing of the drachma to build a fleet of 200 warships.  Themistocles reasoning was simple; the Persian army could only succeed if it were successfully supported by supplies and communications provided by their fleet. He also knew  the Aegean was a violent sea and Themistocles needed only to wait till the time was right. 

In 480 BC, funded by the silver mines of Laurion,  the Athenian's fleet achieved the impossible and defeated forever the formerly formidable Persian Navy.  The sea battle of Salamis spelled the end of Persian oppression and imperialism.   Silver - then as now - the metal of hope.



Philip Judge

Anglo Far-East Company


Also by Philip Judge




Philip Judge is the 3rd generation of a family that has had substantial involvement in the Precious Metals markets. He has researched, written and spoken on the gold, silver and commodities markets for over a decade. Philip works in the marketing and operations department of The Anglo Far-East Bullion Company, an internationally based Bullion Banking, Investment Management and Financial Services Company






 



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Philip Judge is the 3rd generation of a family that has had substantial involvement in the Precious Metals markets. He has researched, written and spoken on the gold, silver and commodities markets for over a decade
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