A somehow short explanation ought to start by disclosing the meaning of the adjective Pontic: related to the Black Sea. Getting closer to the subject, this adjective applies mainly to all the art, culture, artifacts, coins (of course) and any other aspect of life pertaining to the ancient Greek colony cities that the Greeks founded along the rim of the rich Black Sea. Know now (if not already aware) that Romania is bordered at east by the Black Sea and that Greek merchants that turned early to city builders are responsible for the first numismatic issues on the Romanian territory. Coins struck as early as the fifth century B.C. by the oldest city of the region, Histria, (founded in the seventh century before Christ, see map), are to be known as the oldest preserved until know and as the first page of the coin issuing history inside the Romanian space.
The Greek cities on the future Romanian shore (implied in this section, named in the order of their appearence) are Histria (nowadays the comune Istria), Tomis (today the municipium of Constanța) and Callatis (today the municipium of Mangalia). All three struck coins.
Their vestiges lie in the south east of Romania in the province of Dobrogea. Regarding the ancient times the region involved is called Scythia Minor, although a fairer, more accurate and precise denomination is Pontic Dacia. The meaning of the Greek presence on the coast was good exchange with the inner land inhabitants which, for these three cities mentioned, (that were not at all the only colonies at the Black Sea), were the Dacians. It is not the point here to say no Scythians inhabited Scythia Minor, instead we should understand that Dacians also were populating the shores as part of the ancient Dacia. A good proof that Pontic Dacia is a reasonable reference comes from the famous Roman poet Ovid, exiled at Tomis for not pleasing the emperor. Pontics is a masterpiece of his work composed during this exile and hence we know that, besides complaining of the winter, fiercesome indeed for one bred in the sunny Italy, he was also impressed by the native Dacians that fought the cold with their wooly large winter hats.
Let us remember again that Romanians are descendants of the old Dacians and Romans, the later giving them their name as people and all the root elements of their language.
A Few Words on the Name of the Black Sea in Ancient Times and the Pontic Space
As great sailors and merchants, Greeks left the main Greece in large numbers in search of profit and their journeys ended in settling hundreds of towns (polis) and small harbor stations for trading (emporiums) all around the Mediteranian basin (the Black Sea included). So great was their influence in some parts that Sicily, for instance, was known as Megale Hellas (Great Greece). The Black Sea was in such a high degree to their liking, that they gave it the name of Pontus Euxinus, i.e. the Stranger Welcoming Sea. The Greeks traded here luxury items as potery, weavings and Greek wine for grain, honey, furs, fish and slaves of the natives, with mutual huge advantages. Why were they welcome here then it is obvious. The Greek for sea is pontos, but that name of Pontus Euxinus was so largely in use for very a long time that up until now the word Pontic came down to us as a direct reference to the Black Sea and not to any sea, like in general.