@zumbly for. I have been wanting one ever since he posted his example overstruck on the Minotaur / Labyrinth stater of Knossos. These don't typically come in high grade (at least sub 5-figures ) so I was very pleased to score this example with a great balance of tone, centering, orientation and provenance. It also helps that the flan is nice and large at 27.5 mm for a great in-hand look and plenty of room for the design. Crete, Gortyna AR stater, struck ca. 330-270 BC Dia.: 27.5 mm Wt.: 11.58 g Obv.: Europa seated right in lefeless plane-tree, holding branches of tree with both hands Rev.: Bull standing right, head turned back, scratching muzzle with hoof. Ex Karl Kress (before 1969) This coin was in the inventory of Karl Kress who died in 1969. I wrote a bit about the history of his auction house here The mythological subject of this coin is typically said to be Europa. However, some very knowledgeable numismatists of the past, such as Svoronos, have questioned that and proposed a native goddess like Britomartis as the subject. After researching this coin I strongly suspect it is Europa. Even so, I have come to believe that Svoronos makes some interesting points and I think Europa herself was probably based on an ancient Minoan goddess and the way she is depicted on this coin may show a memory of that. The Myth of Europa Zeus became enamored of a Phoenician princess from Tyre named Europa and so decided to transform himself into a tame white bull and approach her while she was playing with her maids near the sea. Europa climbed up on the bull’s back at which point the bull jumped into the sea and swam away to Crete where he revealed himself as Zeus. Europa bore Zeus the sons Minos, Rhadamanthus and Sarpedon. When Zeus left he gave Europa three gifts for her protection: A giant guardian made of Bronze (Talos), a hunting dog that always caught its prey (Laelaps), and a javelin that never missed. In honor of this event Zeus created the constellation of Taurus. Europa’s father sent her brothers to look for her but they never found her. One of her brothers, Cadmus, was advised by the oracle at Delphi to stop his search and to found a city. He became the legendary founder of Thebes. Europa married the King of Crete, Asterion and thus her son Minos inherited the throne. I took this photo from the ancient ruins of Lato on Crete looking east into the Aegean Sea through which the myth says Zeus swam with Europa on his back (Author's photo) The Convoluted Version In reality, the story of Europa is not as straightforward as the Wikipedia style summary would suggest. The above version is cobbled together from multiple sources written hundreds of years apart. The closest source to matching most of the details is written by Pseudo-Apollodorus in the Bibliotheca in the 1st or 2nd century AD . The earliest mentions of Europa are in Homer’s Illiad and Hesiod’s Theogony. Both only mention her in passing so it is possible to include the full quotations here. Hesiod (8th-7th century BC) mentions Europa as part of a list of the offspring of Ocean and Tethys, thus making her a minor goddess. “And Tethys bore to Ocean eddying rivers... Also she brought forth a holy company of daughters... Petraea the fair, Menestho, and Europa... “  Homer (8th-7th century BC) also mentions Europa but in a far more colorful way. In the Iliad Hera is trying to distract Zeus by making herself irresistible to him. He responds in a wildly unromantic manner by listing all of the women he has slept with... “Never has such a lust for goddess or mortal woman flooded my pounding heart and overwhelmed me so... not when I stormed Europa, far-famed Phoenix' daughter who bore me Minos and Rhadamanthus, grand as gods...”  Herodotus wrote about Europa in the 5th century BC but from a Persian perspective by claiming that she was a Phoenician princess that was abducted by Greeks in retaliation for the abduction of Io by the Phoenicians. He says; “Next, according to their tale, certain Greeks (they cannot tell who) landed at Tyre in Phoenicia and carried off the king's daughter Europa. These Greeks must, I suppose, have been Cretans.”  I think it is safe to assume that Herodotus is rationalizing the version alluded to by Homer. This leaves us with two ancient traditions, one where Europa is abducted by Zeus and transported to Crete, and the other where she is vaguely divine. Gortyna and Europa The only details of what happen between Zeus and Europa once they got to Crete that I am aware of are recounted by Theophrastus (who was the successor to Aristotle at the Academy) between 350-287 BC. “It is said that in Crete, in the district of Gortyna there is a plane-tree near a certain spring which does not lose its leaves ; (indeed the story is that it was under this tree that Zeus lay [sometime translated as “wed”] with Europa)... all the other plants in the neighborhood shed their leaves.”  In other words there was a sacred plane-tree near Gortyna that remained green year-round and there was a local legend that this is where Zeus and Europa were wed. Since this story was famous enough to be known in Athens and was written down around the same time the above coin was struck it stands to reason that Europa, the sacred tree, and Zeus as the bull are the subjects depicted. Fig. 2: This is the oldest plane-tree in Crete (Krasi). It is estimated to be 2400 years old which means is would have been about a century old by the time the OP coin was struck. In fact there is a lot of evidence that Gortyna was associated with the myth of Europa as shown by the discovery of this statue of Europa on the bull that was uncovered at Gortyna in 1862. Fig. 3: This statue of Europa and the bull was excavated from the site of Gortyna in 1862. It is currently in the British Museum. The photo on the right shows it being stored in the BM basement before before undergoing restoration work. Even more interesting to me is the fact that variations of this coin type from Gortyna can be taken together and read as a story. Svoronos lists 8 variations but for this write up we can get by with three. Europa is seated in the plane-tree looking forlorn. The tree she sits in is lifeless. An eagle (Zeus?) appears on Europa’s lap with splayed wings. Perhaps representing their union. Europa is now holding a royal scepter with the eagle at her side. She is wearing a crown. The tree she sits in is in full bloom perhaps alluding to the story told by Theophrastus. Fig. 4: Left - Variant 1 showing Europa in the plane tree (Author's photo). Center - Variant 2 showing Europa with the eagle on her lap (Photo courtesy of CNG). Right - Variant 3 showing Europa in a regal pose after "wedding" the eagle god Zeus (Photo courtesy of Roma Numismatics) All the evidence above taken together seems to me to make the association of this type with Europa pretty definitive. However, to add even more certainty we can look at a slightly later bronze issue of Gortyna that shows Europa in the regal pose sitting in a tree similar to variant 3. On the reverse of this coin we see that the bull (shown alone on the staters) now has a female rider that can only be Europa. Fig. 5: Bronze coin ca. 250 BC showing the regal pose on the obverse is related to the Europa myth on the reverse (Photo courtesy of CNG) Europa as a Goddess I think it is possible that Europa was based on a Minoan goddess that was married to a local god who later became syncretized with Zeus as Greek influence spread to Crete. At that point Europa would have been demoted to mortal status because you can’t have two wildly different versions of Hera. This pattern likely explains a lot of Zeus’s flings with mortals. Specifically I think that Europa was originally a Cretan moon goddess [*]. Some evidence for this is outlined below. First, her name is commonly taken to mean “broad-faced” in Greek which could be a reference to the full moon. For the second reason, we have to consider her daughter-in-law, Pasiphae, and the many parallels between the two. Pasiphae was the daughter of Helios (the sun) and the wife of Minos. She famously lusted after a white bull and gave birth to the Minotaur. Pasiphae’s name means “wide-shining” and Pausanias tells us directly that Pasiphae was a name for the moon and that she was worshiped as a goddess in Thalamai . In fact, Pasiphae is the sister of Circe and her mother was a nymph so the fact that she is not a goddess in the story of the Minotaur is internally inconsistent. The parallels between Europa and Pasiphae are striking; both women have fathers associated with the sun (Helios and Phoenix), both mate with a divine bull, both have names that reference the moon. There are even more parallels than these. I think Pasiphae and Europa could have been based on the same goddess and their stories evolved separately to fit specific roles in the later mythology. Finally, we have a quote from Lucian. “There is likewise in Phœnicia a temple of great size owned by the Sidonians. They call it the temple of Astarte. I hold this Astarte to be no other than the moon-goddess. But according to the story of one of the priests this temple is sacred to Europa, the sister of Cadmus.”  So why is any of this interesting for understanding the Gortyna stater design? The coin designs of Crete are very unique in their tendency to show full figures (not just portraits) as well as sacred trees and other natural scenes. This is a tradition that goes all the way back to Minoan and Mycenaean art. Below on the left is a Minoan gold ring ca. 1500 BC that shows full bodied deities hanging from sacred trees. The illustration on the right is even more interesting. It is an illustration of a gold ring published by sir Author Evans in 1901. It shows a full female figure in front of a sanctuary to the moon topped with a sacred tree and a bull’s horns. This illustrates a connection with all of the artistic elements shown on the above stater a full 1000+ years before it was struck. Fig. 6: Left - Minoan gold ring showing goddess figures and sacred trees. Right: Minoan gold ring showing female figure at a shrine to the moon-goddess. Fig. 7: There is a very ancient tradition of depicting bulls in art on the island of Crete. I took this photo at the Palace of Knossos. I shows a male figure jumping over a bull flanked by two female figures. This may have been a religious ceremony performed in the open space at the center of the palace complex (Author's photo) Notes [*] I have also found some very interesting articles that argue that Europa was a sun goddess based on astronomical arguments. References  Hesiod https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0130:card=337  Homer https://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/mythology/iliad14.html  Herodotus https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Herodotus/1a*.html  Theophrastus https://archive.org/stream/L070TheophrastusEnquiryIntoPlantsI15/L070-Theophrastus Enquiry Into Plants I:1-5_djvu.txt  Moschus https://books.google.com/books?id=IMrCpKxmgCUC&printsec=titlepage&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=true  Apollonius Rhodius https://www.theoi.com/Text/ApolloniusRhodius4.html  Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 35 : https://www.theoi.com/Ther/KuonLailaps.html  Pseudo-Apollodorus (1st-2nd century AD) http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0022:text=Library:book=3:chapter=1  Pausanias https://www.theoi.com/Titan/Pasiphae.html  Lucian of Sarasota http://lucianofsamosata.info/wiki/doku.php?id=home:texts_and_library:essays:the-syrian-goddess Please post Coins from Crete Coins with bulls Coins with trees Coins showing a famous myth!