didrachm

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Didrachm Imitating Kimon, from Larissa, Thessaly, 350-340 BC

Obverse: Head of the nymph Larissa facing three-quarters left wearing an ampyx (headband), earring and necklace. Reverse: Horse walking right with the inscription ΛΑΡΙΣΑΙΩΝ.

Larissa was was represented on the obverse of common drachms produced by the city of Larissa (map) between 400 BC and at least 340 BC, as a three-quarters face with outward flowing hair. This style was copied from the head of Arethusa by Kimon (Cimon), depicted on Syracusan tetradrachms (example). According to hoard evidence from Thessaly, this coinage was produced down to c. 320 BC. Other coins depict Larissa seated, holding a hydria and with a spring nearby, confirming her status as a nymph.

More about Kimon

Silver Didrachm from Neapolis, Campania, C. 350-325 BC

Obverse: Head of nymph facing to right, her hair bound with a broad band decorated with a meander pattern. Reverse: [NE]OΠOΛITH[Σ] (in the exergue), man-headed bull standing to right, Nike flies above to right to crown the bull.

Struck from dies of the finest style, excellent metal, attractively toned and good extremely fine, one of the finest known examples and a superb piece of ancient art.

(Map of ancient Neapolis)

Silver Didrachm from Eretria, Euboea c. 500-465 BC

Cow standing right, scratching head with its right hind foot, E below / Octopus in incuse square.

Eretria counts among the first cities in Greece proper to strike their own silver coins along with Athens, Chalkis and Karystos. Analysis of several hoards has shown that the earliest coins struck in Eretria were contemporary with the first Athenian Owls. This Eretrian coinage is dated circa 520-510 BC, at the time of the fall of the Pisistratids and the end of the Athenian heraldic coins. On their obverse, Eretria’s coins bear an image of a standing cow, the head turned back, licking a rear hoof or scratching its nose; on the reverse there is an octopus in an incuse square.

The representation of a cow recalls the myth of Io. The young woman, after the birth of her son Epaphos by Zeus, was changed into a cow by Hera who wanted to take revenge on her unfaithful husband. According to one tradition, Epaphos was born in Euboea. As for the octopus, it probably alludes to the city’s maritime activities.