Looking for more information on Gorgoneion hemidrachm from Parion

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Lane Walker, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    I have a couple of small Gorgoneion coins from Asia Minor and would love to know more about them and why so many cultures seemingly depicted these faces on their coins. Was this only for the hemidrachm of the area?
    Mysia, Parion / AR, 13 mm, 2.4 gm / 400-300 BC
    Obv: Gorgoneion
    Rev: Bull standing left, looking back, ΠA above, ΡI and patera below
    Ref: BMC Mysia pg 96:31
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  3. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Parion also issued bronze coins with the gorgoneion. Here is an example in bronze from the most recent Agora Auction:

    Mysia, Parion. civic issue. 2nd-1st cent B.C. AE 13, 2.11 g
    Obv: Gorgoneon three-quarters facing to right
    Rev: Π - A / P - I, ethnic divided by owl standing right on palm-branch, head facing.

    Athena had a gorgoneion on her breastplate. The ancient authors do not tell us why. Modern authors have proposed that the gorgon signifies Athena’s aegis. The gorgoneion was also a common image on Greek shields.

    Some cities, like Seriphos, were visited by Perseus in mythological times. For those cities the gorgon probably represents a local story.

    I have a theory for why Parion used the gorgon as a type but it is my own theory. It isn't supported by any published articles.

    Most people believe the gorgon/cow coinage at Parion started circa 375 or 350 BC. Parion was conquered by Abydos circa 360 BC.
    Abydos used the gorgon motif on its early coinage. I suspect the conquerors brought the type. (The earlier gorgon/incuse coinage I don't believe is from Parion. Their attribution to Parion is just a bit of numismatic folk-lore that made it into too many catalogs).
    Brian Bucklan, Lane Walker and Bing like this.
  4. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    Your subject-knowledge is always truly appreciated @Ed Snible -- Thank you!
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