The Achaemenid Empire rose from a strong military and political background which differed to the traditional Mesopotamian kingdoms. At its peak, it had the most expansive territory in history, on account of which it embraced a fusion of various languages, religions, and cultures. With the defeat of king Croesus and the conquest of Lydia, Cyrus the Great adopted the region’s coinage, the starter, and began minting posthumous Croeseid half-staters, whose weight would later become the standard for the Persian sigloi.
Changes to the Achaemenid Imperial coinage were introduced with the reign of Darius I (522 – 486 BC), during which the minting of staters was progressively replaced by gold Darics (δαρεικός – dareikos) and silver Sigloi (σίγλοι), as well as smaller denominations of both. The minting process was simplified and the double reverse punch seen on Lydian coinage was replaced by a single, oblong reverse punch on both Darics and Sigloi. The coins’ obverse showed the image of the Great King presented in the Knielauf scheme, holding a bow in his left hand. Accordingly, the Greeks referred to the Achaemenid coinage as toxotai (τοξόται – archers). The ‘archer’ type is also seen on contemporary Cypriotic coins, which depicted a kneeling-running Herakles holding a bow, but is also a well established iconography in Sumerian art, which allowed an easily understandable glorification of the Achaemenid rulers to all provinces of the Empire