Greek Stater of Gortyna: Europa and Bull

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Curtisimo, Apr 9, 2021.

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  1. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Here is a coin that I get to both thank and blame my friend @zumbly for. :D 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 :greedy:) 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.

    12692A7D-AC88-43CB-B438-219F2CC57125.jpeg
    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)


    Gortyna_Stater_tag.jpg
    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.
    Fig_1_Aegean-from-Crete.jpg
    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 [8].

    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... “ [1]

    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...” [2]

    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.” [3]

    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.” [4]

    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_3.5_Europa_Bull.jpg
    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_Europa_Bull.jpg
    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.
    1. Europa is seated in the plane-tree looking forlorn. The tree she sits in is lifeless.
    2. An eagle (Zeus?) appears on Europa’s lap with splayed wings. Perhaps representing their union.
    3. 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_Stater_Comparison.jpg
    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_Europa_Bronze.jpg
    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 [9]. 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.” [10]

    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_Minoan_Art.jpg
    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_2_Sacred_Bull.jpg
    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
    [1] Hesiod
    https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0130:card=337

    [2] Homer
    https://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/mythology/iliad14.html

    [3] Herodotus
    https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Herodotus/1a*.html

    [4] Theophrastus
    https://archive.org/stream/L070TheophrastusEnquiryIntoPlantsI15/L070-Theophrastus Enquiry Into Plants I:1-5_djvu.txt

    [5] Moschus
    https://books.google.com/books?id=IMrCpKxmgCUC&printsec=titlepage&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=true

    [6] Apollonius Rhodius
    https://www.theoi.com/Text/ApolloniusRhodius4.html

    [7] Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 35 :
    https://www.theoi.com/Ther/KuonLailaps.html

    [8] 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

    [9] Pausanias
    https://www.theoi.com/Titan/Pasiphae.html

    [10] 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!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Fantastic new piece, dazzling artistry and great write up!
    Oi! Don't even get me started on that rare wonder of @zumbly's:wideyed: Who strikes over a labyrinth!?!?
    But, if we're talking Crete I've no problem dropping my recent Labyrinth:
    1645638_1611569933.l-removebg-preview.png
     
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  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I have nothing to post other than a few ordinary bull coins, but thank you -- what a wonderful write-up, with a beautiful coin and other photos! I've been fascinated by Minoan civilization from childhood, when I read Leonard Cottrell's book The Bull of Minos, from the 1950s (only about a dozen years old when I read it!). And a large part of one of my favorite books, Mary Renault's The King Must Die, takes place on Crete, where Theseus becomes a bull-leaper.

    Back in 2009, I saw a fascinating, comprehensive exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art entitled "Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C" -- i.e., the Middle and Late Bronze Ages -- from which I bought the 500+-page catalog. The Minoans and Myceneans (and Thera) were included, of course, along with Babylon, Ugarit, Egypt and the Levant, the Hittites, Mitanni, the Assyrians, and others. Descriptions of the exhibition and catalog can be found at https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2008/beyond-babylon and https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpu...rade_and_Diplomacy_in_the_Second_Millenium_BC.

    Here's the page from the catalog entitled "Bull Leaping" (click on the photo to enlarge so you can read the text):

    Beyond Babylon page on bull jumping.jpeg

    And herewith some miscellaneous unrelated bulls:

    Thorius Balbus (bull) (2).jpg

    COMBINED Gallienus - Legionary Bull.jpg

    New Julian II - bull COMBINED (light background).jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
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  5. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Absolutely love that coin my friend. Super jealous that you managed to snag an example with such a nicely intact labyrinth. That’s a top 10 caliber coin for sure.

    I am super fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Knossos a few years ago and I can totally see how it might have seemed like an impossible maze to the later Greeks. It is a truly amazing place set in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

    A few photos of my trip.
    36CC7570-EEBA-40F5-BB8F-048E6A223FB8.jpeg
    84AB266B-7DA6-4671-A0F3-A394AD3070DF.jpeg
    414BEF47-459A-4A87-AECD-27DB842A2B06.jpeg

    Thank you for the kind words Donna. :)

    Very interesting text excerpt from your book. I was not aware of bull leaping outside the context of Minoan Crete which I always assumed had pioneered the phenomenon. It’s amazing how much more interesting history can be when you put all the pieces together.

    I also am fascinated by the Minoans. I always find it disappointing that all the courses I ever had on the ancient Mediterranean the Minoans (and Mycenaeans as well) were treated more as prologue to Archaic and classical Greece. The Minoans deserve a course in their own right! Even without the readable literary record there is lots of interesting scholarship on the era.

    I am also an admirer of the art and architecture of the period. I will confess that I enjoyed exploring the Mycenaean and Minoan sites even more than the more popular sites in Greece. We had Knossos almost to ourselves!

    Here are a couple more pictures of Knossos showing some of the art.
    18E8C16A-F3F0-45B1-9BB0-57A8A0404727.jpeg
    CC5EA75B-AA84-4493-9E3F-44866136BD67.jpeg
    3388F99E-63F8-40B7-8953-1868D9DA43AD.jpeg
     
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  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Fantastic write-up, @Curtisimo! Entertaining AND informative!

    The most relevant coin in my collection is this one, a Roman provincial featuring a woman riding a bull. Although the image looks like Europa, numismatists believe it to be Artemis Tauropolos, because Amphipolis was home to a temple of Artemis Tauropolos. @Jochen1 explains in reply #112 here.

    The Epithet, "Tauropolos," stems from Euripides in his famous tragedies Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris. The meaning of this epithet is not entirely clear. Among the possibilities are "worshiped at Tauris," "pulled by a yoke of bulls," or "hunting bull-goddess."

    [​IMG]
    Augustus, 27 BC - AD 14.
    Roman provincial AE 23.
    Macedon, Amphipolis, 10.25 g, 23.3 mm, 1 h.
    Obv: ΚΑΙΣΑΡ ΘΕΟΥ ΥΙΟΣ, bare-head, right.
    Rev: ΑΜΦΙΠΟΛΙΕΙΤΩΝ, Artemis Tauropolos with inflated veil, riding on bull galloping right.
    Refs: BMC 5, p. 52, 73; Sear Greek Imperial 29.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2021
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  7. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Curtisimo.....Excellent write up....I had a honeymoon there sometime around 1986:confused:......Wonderful Island!
    Here's a tree coin..
    Chutas of Banavasi....
    LEAD-NEW.jpg
     
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  8. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    Acropolis,Santorini. Minoan "Pompeii".
    Went there year before last hope to go again end of May-Covid willing!

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Excellent Amphipolis coin and neat background on the meaning of the epithet. Had you not mentioned the possible etymologies I would probably have instinctively assumed it meant something like “bull-city” or “bull of the city” without noting the polis / polos difference. Your coin is proof that Europa didn’t have the market cornered on bull riding ladies.

    Thanks @Spaniard . That is a cool coin. It’s interesting how similar the tree in the enclosure is to the ring illustration from Arthur Evans (Fig. 6).

    That’s really cool NewStyle. The next time I visit Greece I intend to focus more on the islands with Santorini at the top of the list mostly because of this archeological site... I miss traveling.

    Great photo. Thanks for sharing.
     
  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    What a spectacular new acquisition! @zumbly will definitely approve. I think the double-strike on the reverse is actually very appealing, and even moreso the obverse with its mysterious veil-like atmosphere.

    Zeus came up with some very – shall we say creative? – courtship ideas, but this is one of the weirdest. "Hmm... what shall I do? Oh - I know!" o_O I love your analysis of the myth's origins.

    This tree is awesome!! Also all the other cool photos... Crete has just risen on my travel to-do list.

    Sadly I have zero coins from the island. :( So I will post a bull (no, not that one):
    thourium.jpg
    Thurium , in Lucania (443-400 BC), AR diobol - Athena / Bull and fish.

    Plus a seemingly unrelated Byzantine coin:
    michael ii.jpg
    Michael II the Amorian (820-829), AE follis.

    Why Michael II? Because it was in his reign that Greek/Roman Crete was taken over by the Andalusian Muslims who established the Emirate of Crete.

    One of my favourites also! Mary Renault is amazing. :happy:
     
  11. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Thanks SA! I know it might not look overly impressive to some folks who aren't familiar with the type but I agree with your very kind comments. With all that this coin has going for it in terms of the things I look for in a coin I really can't see myself ever seeking an upgrade on it... though one day I might try to nab one of the variants since I think the story aspect is super cool :happy:.

    Indeed! It is a very strange way to woo a lady :cigar:. If I had to put money on it I would wager that the myth of Zeus as a bull Casanova originated due to some astronomical observation that included Taurus. That constellation was associated with a bull from at least middle of the bronze age. I read one interesting explanation that proposed that if Europa was originally a sun goddess the rising of the sun over the back of Taurus between 2000 BC and 1600 BC would have been a good indicator of the coming of spring to Crete and thus a good time to plant. If Europa were a moon goddess I am sure there are other astronomical explanations that would make sense for that as well.

    I didn't cover it in my write up because it was already getting long but Europa married Asterion after Zeus left her and the Minotaur born to Pasiphae was also named Asterion. Asterion means "starry-one" which supports the theory that the myth was based in astronomical observation and also that Europa and Pasiphae are based on the same original goddess!

    I can't recommend Crete highly enough. Also wonderful coins my friend!
     
  12. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Brilliant article, Curtis! I think your pic of the coin is excellent. Also, wonderful photo of the view from Lato!

    I really love this coin type and also lean towards the depicted goddess being Europa, in spite of Svoronos's scepticism. Here's mine..

    CRETE Gortyna - AR Stater Europa Bull 3981 new.jpg
    CRETE, Gortyna
    AR Stater. 11.68g, 27mm x 24.5mm. CRETE, Gortyna, circa 330-270 BC. BMC Crete pg. 38, 9, pl. IX. 8 (same rev die); SNG Cop 442; Svoronos 59. O: Europa, wearing chiton with short sleeves and peplos over lower limbs, seated right in platanus tree; right hand on tree, heading resting pensively on left arm which is bent and supported by her knee. R: Bull standing right, head reverted, right hind leg lifted.
    Ex Matthew Curtis Collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group 100 (7 October 2015), lot 1398

    An excuse to post my favorite coin! :D

    Crete Gortyna - Stater 1877.jpg
    CRETE, Gortyna
    AR Stater. 11.77g, 29.8mm. CRETE, Gortyna, circa 330-270 BC. SNG Cop -; Svoronos 36/62 (same obv die as 36, pl. XIII, 10; rev of 62, pl. XIV, 9); BMC Crete pg. 38, 7/8, pl. IX. 6 (same obv die) and 7 (same rev die?). O: Europa, wearing chiton with short sleeves and peplos over lower limbs, seated right in platanus tree; right hand on tree, head resting pensively on left arm, which is bent and supported by her knee. R: Bull standing to right, head turned back left to lick its flank.

    Here's a rare provincial from Tyre showing Cadmus as the founder of Thebes. The gates of the city are in the upper left on the reverse with ΘH/BЄ below it to indicate what the scene is intended to depict.

    Valerian - Phoenicia Tyre - Thebes Cadmus.jpg
    VALERIAN
    AE27. 13.98g, 27.3mm. PHOENICIA, Tyre, circa AD 253-260. Rouvier 2500. O: IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right. R: TVRIORVM, Cadmus standing left, holding patera and spear; at feet to left, cow reclining right; in left field, city gate of Thebes above ΘH/BЄ; murex shell to right.
     
  13. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coins and a very informative text.
    Macedonia - Amphipolis: Artemis and Augustus
    image.jpg
    image(1).jpg
    Viminacium - Gordian III, bull and lion
    image(2).jpg
     
  14. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Curtis, This is a wonderful article with great illustrations :D!
     
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  15. Theodosius

    Theodosius Fine Style Seeker Supporter

    Wow, fantastic new coin Curtis! One of the most unique and desirable types.

    It's very interesting how the design on the obverse just flows off the edge of the flan without any dotted border or any recognition of the edge of the coin. It looks almost like a modern metal rather than an ancient coin. Not too many similar designs I can think of at the moment.

    Really great that you've been able to visit so many ancient sites in person.

    John
     
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  16. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Exceptionnal writeup and coin alltogether.
    Thank you for sharing both with us Curtis

    Apart from a 2 euro greek coin, featuring Evropa, I don't have anything relevant that would be worth posting

    Q
     
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  17. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    What a fantastic acquisition Curtis! Really wonderful. @zumbly examples also made me want to get this type, but my search is still going on.
    Also, a very nice write up and I like you dive deeper into the mythology.

    Next to Athens and my home town at Epeiros, I visited Crete the most, I have been there at least 30 times for long periods, if not more. I ate at the restaurant there at Krasi multiple times and have a few pics with the tree. My friend and neighbor inherited a lot of land there, he goes there regularly to harvest and take care of his crops, sometimes I join him for a few days. I haven't been there for some time now because of COVID though :(

    Here some coins of Crete (no Europa unfortunately):

    upload_2021-4-12_18-37-52.png
    Crete, Knossos. AE. 40/30 B.C.
    Obverse:
    Laureate head of Zeus to right; to right, vertical thunderbolt. Counterstamp: eagle right.
    Reverse: K-Y/ Δ-A/ Σ. Eagle with spread wings standing to right.
    Reference: RPC 934; Slg. Traeger 193; Svoronos 142, Pl. VII, 19.
    11.06g
    From the ‘van der Dussen’ collection.

    upload_2021-4-12_18-38-5.png
    Crete, Lyttos. Æ coin, 250-221 B.C.
    Obverse:
    Laureate head of Zeus right.
    Reverse: ΛYTT; Eagle standing right, with wings spread; monogram between legs; to right, head of boar right.
    Reference: Svoronos 75; Slg. Traeger 273.
    5.52g; 17mm
    From Dr. W. R. Collection.
    Ex. Numismatik Naumann 46, München 2016, Nr. 177.

    upload_2021-4-12_18-38-16.png
    Crete, Gortyna. AE Bronze. Circa 245-221 B.C.
    Obverse:
    Diademed head of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder.
    Reverse: ΓΟΡΤΥΝΙΩΝ Bull standing left, his head turned back to right; all within wreath.
    Reference: BMC 63. Jackson pl. 12, 5. Joy 465. SNG Copenhagen 458. Svoronos, Numismatique 107.
    11,02g; 25mm

    upload_2021-4-12_18-38-30.png
    Crete, Kydonia. AR Diobol. Early 2nd century BC.
    Obverse:
    Head of a nymph to left.
    Reverse: Raised \'skew\' pattern.
    Reference: Dewing 2000. SNG Lockett 2548.
    1.40g; 15mm

    upload_2021-4-12_18-37-9.png
    Crete, Gortyna. Bronze coin, 85–82 B.C.
    Obverse:
    Head of Hermes left, wearing petasos.
    Reverse: Bull butting left; caduceus above; in exergue: ΓΟΡΤ; all within circle of dots.
    Reference: SNG Cop. 461;
    2.22g; 13-14mm
    From “The Lundahl collection (1955-1995)”.
     
  18. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    Some Cretan Pseudo-Athenian NewStyles Once thought to be minted with silver provided by Sulla via Lucullus' brother Marcus now thought to be of the Mithradatic camp. Probably why Rome devastated Crete at the close of the Mithradatic wars. Maybe Mithradates friendly pirates needed clearing out. Anyone an expert on ancient Crete?
    The last 2 are both from Kydonia, one looks to be a Tyrant slayer as on the famous NewStyle O Demos coins, the suckling hound ? Your guess is as good as mine.
    upload_2021-4-12_18-56-9.png upload_2021-4-12_18-57-5.png upload_2021-4-12_18-58-2.png upload_2021-4-12_18-59-2.png

    upload_2021-4-12_19-2-44.png
     
  19. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    upload_2021-4-12_19-15-35.png

    The famous and mysterious O DEMOS NewStyle copy
     
  20. Kavax

    Kavax Well-Known Member

    Very great post Curtisimo !!

    a coin from crete is on my wish list
     
    Curtisimo likes this.
  21. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Thank you my friend! I perhaps should have provided more clarification in my opening remarks about why I get to both blame and thank you for this one. The blame comes from your amazing posts on interesting coins. The thanks comes from your amazing posts on interesting coins... plus the fact that I acquired this beauty (and a few others as you know!) from you earlier this year. :D

    As to the Lato photo since you mention it I will share a few more photos of that super cool place. :shy: I mentioned that my wife and I had Knossos almost to ourselves but when we visited Lato we had it completely to ourselves! It felt like we were the only people for miles around. A lot of the Greek sites I’ve been to have a distinct Roman feel because of the later buildings. Lato is a Dorian city that was abandoned in 200 BC so in form it is a thoroughly Greek place. It has the distinction of being the birthplace of Alexander the Great’s top Admiral, Nearchus. From sleepy little Lato to commanding a fleet in India is a story that made the visit even more interesting.
    463280FE-0B45-446D-B65A-7E7769635980.jpeg
    Looking towards the temple district.

    885C4DBE-F084-4EB8-892C-B2ECD02510FF.jpeg
    The “House of the Prytaneion” which I assume was the house of the leading member of the community.

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    The Prytaneion.

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    The Great Temple

    I can see why you love this type and looking at your examples I can see why they are both among your overall favorites! Your newest example is absolutely beautiful but your overstruck Minotaur is nothing short of amazing. Mine is obviously overstruck as well but very little trace of what the undertype may have been is left. You have both the labyrinth AND the Minotaur visible on yours. It’s like having two coins in one :). I can’t believe the auction house didn’t list this coin individually with both sides photographed!


    Yet another example of you posting interesting coins I wasn’t aware of ;)
     
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