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100 Italian lira (1979, FAO celebration)
100 Lira (Italy).jpg
Obverse: Young woman with braid facing left and Repubblica Italiana (Republic of Italy) written in Italian.Reverse: Cow nursing calf, face value & date. FAO at bottom and Nutrire il Mondo (English: Feed the world) at top.
Coin minted by Italy in 1970s to celebrate and promote the Food and Agriculture Organization.
1 Turkish lira (2009)
Lira coin.png
Obverse: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk with "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" lettering (Republic of Turkey)
1 Italian lira (1863)
VE2 lira 1863.jpg
Obverse: Victor Emmanuel II Reverse: Coat of arms of the House of Savoy
10 Turkish lira (1986)
10 Lira (Turkey).jpg
Obverse: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk with "TÜRKİYE CUMHURİYETİ" lettering (Republic of Turkey)Reverse: Face value and year within wreath, crescent moon and star at the top. Crescent opens right

Lira is the name of several currency units. It is the current currency of Turkey and also the local name of the currencies of Lebanon and of Syria. It is also the name of several former currencies, including those of Italy, Malta and Israel. The term originates from the value of a Roman pound (Latin : libra, about 329g, 10.58 troy ounces) of high purity silver. The libra was the basis of the monetary system of the Roman Empire. When Europe resumed a monetary system, during the Carolingian Empire, the Roman system was adopted. The Roman denominations librae, solidi, denarii were used (becoming known in England as £sd).


Particularly this system was kept during the Middle Ages and Modern Age in England, France, and Italy. In each of these countries the libra was translated into local language: pound in England, livre in France, lira in Italy. The Venetian lira was one of the currencies in use in Italy and due to the economic power of the Venetian Republic a popular currency in the Eastern Mediterranean trade.

During the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire and the Eyalet of Egypt adopted the lira as their national currency, equivalent to 100 piasters or kuruş. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed in years 1918–1922, many among the successor states kept the lira as their national currency. In some countries, such as Cyprus, which have belonged to both the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire, the words lira and pound are used interchangeably.

Lira sign

For the Turkish lira, the Turkish lira sign (U+20BATURKISH LIRA SIGN) is used. The Lebanese lira uses £L (before numerals) or L.L. (after numerals) in Latin and ل.ل. in Arabic. The Syrian lira uses £S (before numerals) or L.S. (after numerals) in Latin and ل.س in Arabic.

The Italian lira had no official sign, but the abbreviations L. and Lit. and the symbols (two bars), £ (one bar) were all commonly used.

The Maltese lira used £M before 1986 and Lm thereafter (both as prefixes), though £M continued to be used in unofficial capacities.

The Unicode system allocated U+20A4LIRA SIGN to the Lira, to provide compatibility with a legacy HP character set. [1] As with U+00A3£POUND SIGN, where the one-bar and the two-bar versions are treated as allographs and the choice between them is merely stylistic, no evidence has been found that either style predominated in Italy or anywhere else.

Current uses


The Turkish lira was introduced in 1844 during the Ottoman reign. The Turkish lira is now the currency of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and used in Turkish-occupied northern Syria.

Lebanon and Syria

The Lebanese pound and Syrian pound are both called "lira" (ليرة) in Arabic, the national language of both Lebanon and Syria.

Historic use


The lira was the currency of Italy from its unification until it was merged into the euro in 1999. [2] A unit of currency lira had previously been used in some of the states and possessions that became Italy but their values were not necessarily equivalent. (See Luccan lira, Papal lira, Parman lira, Sardinian lira and Tuscan lira.)

Former currencies named lira

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pound (currency)</span> Unit of currency

Pound is the name for a unit of currency. It is used in some countries today and previously was used in many others. The English word pound derives from the Latin expression lībra pondō, in which lībra is a noun meaning "pound" and pondō is an adverb meaning "by weight". The currency's symbol is £, a stylised form of the blackletter L, crossed to indicate abbreviation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Latin Church in the Middle East</span> Latin Catholicism in the Middle East

The Latin Church in the Middle East represents members of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church in the Middle East, notably in Turkey and the Levant. Latin Catholics are subject to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and employ the Latin liturgical rites, in contrast to Eastern Catholics who fall under their respective church's patriarchs and employ distinct Eastern liturgical rites, while being in full communion with the worldwide Catholic Church. Latin Catholics in the Middle East are often of European descent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pound sign</span> Currency sign

The pound sign£ is the symbol for the pound unit of sterling – the currency of the United Kingdom and previously of Great Britain and of the Kingdom of England. The same symbol is used for other currencies called pound, such as the Gibraltar, Egyptian, Manx and Syrian pounds. The sign may be drawn with one or two bars depending on personal preference, but the Bank of England has used the one-bar style exclusively on banknotes since 1975.

The Syrian pound or lira is the currency of Syria. It is issued by the Central Bank of Syria. The pound is nominally divided into 100 piastres, although piastre coins are no longer issued.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kuruş</span> Subunit of Turkish Lira

Kuruş, also gurush, ersh, gersh, grush, grosha, and grosi, are all names for currency denominations in and around the territories formerly part of the Ottoman Empire. The variation in the name stems from the different languages it is used in and the different transcriptions into the Latin alphabet. In European languages, the kuruş was known as the piastre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piastre</span>

The piastre or piaster is any of a number of units of currency. The term originates from the Italian for "thin metal plate". The name was applied to Spanish and Hispanic American pieces of eight, or pesos, by Venetian traders in the Levant in the 16th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maltese lira</span> Currency of Malta from 1825 until 31 December 2007

The lira or pound was the currency of Malta from 1972 until 31 December 2007. One lira was divided into 100 cents, each of 10 mils. After 1986 the lira was abbreviated as Lm, although the original £M sign continued to be used unofficially. In English the currency was still frequently called the pound even after its official English language name was changed to lira.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cypriot pound</span> Former currency of Cyprus

The pound, or lira, was the currency of Cyprus, including the Sovereign Base Areas in Akrotiri and Dhekelia, from 1879 to 2007, when the Republic of Cyprus adopted the euro. However, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus uses the Turkish lira as its official currency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Italian lira</span> Former currency of Italy

The lira was the currency of Italy between 1861 and 2002. It was first introduced by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy in 1807 at par with the French franc, and was subsequently adopted by the different states that would eventually form the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. It was subdivided into 100 centesimi, which means "hundredths" or "cents". The lira was also the currency of the Albanian Kingdom from 1941 to 1943.

Several linguistic issues have arisen in relation to the spelling of the words euro and cent in the many languages of the member states of the European Union, as well as in relation to grammar and the formation of plurals.

Lira is the unit of currency of various countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Turkish lira</span> Currency of Turkey

The lira is the official currency of Turkey and Northern Cyprus. One lira is divided into one hundred kuruş.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lebanese pound</span> Currency of Lebanon

The pound or lira is the currency of Lebanon. It was formerly divided into 100 piastres but because of high inflation during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) the use of subunits was discontinued.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International status and usage of the euro</span>

The international status and usage of the euro has grown since its launch in 1999. When the euro formally replaced 12 currencies on 1 January 2002, it inherited their use in territories such as Montenegro and replaced minor currencies tied to the pre-euro currencies, such as in Monaco. Four small states have been given a formal right to use the euro, and to mint their own coins, but all other usage outside the eurozone has been unofficial. With or without an agreement, these countries, unlike those in the eurozone, do not participate in the European Central Bank or the Eurogroup.

Italy has a long history of different coinage types, which spans thousands of years. Italy has been influential at a coinage point of view: the florin, one of the most used coinage types in European history, was struck in Florence in the 13th century. Since Italy has been for centuries divided into many city-states, they all had different coinage systems, but when the country became unified in 1861, the Italian lira came into place, and was used until 2002. Today, Italy uses the euro.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ottoman lira</span> Currency of the Ottoman Empire 1844–1922

The lira was the currency of Ottoman Empire between 1844 when it was replaced by the Turkish lira. The Ottoman lira remained in circulation until the end of 1927, as the republic was not in a position to issue its own banknotes yet in its early years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Carolingian monetary system</span>

The Carolingian monetary system, also called the Carolingian coinage system or just the Carolingian system, was a currency structure introduced by Charlemagne in the late 8th century as part of a major reform, the effects of which subsequently dominated much of Europe, including Britain, for centuries. It is characterised by having three denominations in the ratio 1:20:240, the units of which went under different names in the different languages, but which corresponded to the Latin terms libra (pound), solidus (shilling) and denarius (penny).


  1. "Chapter 22 Symbols" (PDF). The Unicode Standard |Version 8.0 – Core Specification. The Unicode Consortium. Lira Sign: A separate currency sign U+20A4 lira sign is encoded for compatibility with the HP Roman-8 character set, which is still widely implemented in printers. In general, U+00A3 pound sign may be used for both the various currencies known as pound and the currencies known as lira. Examples include the pound unit in sterling, the historic Irish punt, and the former lira currency of Italy.
  2. Browne, William Alfred (1872). The Merchants' Handbook (Second ed.). London: Edward Stanford. pp. 46–50.

Coordinates: 2°14′N32°54′E / 2.233°N 32.900°E / 2.233; 32.900