AR Stater. 11.58g, 27.5mm
MINTED: CRETE, Gortyna, circa 330-270 BC
REF: Svoronos 64 (pl. XIV, 11)
OBVERSE: Europa seated right in lifeless plane (platanus) tree, holding branch of tree with left hand.
REVERSE: Bull standing to right, head turned back, scratching muzzle with hoof.
Ex stock Munich Münzhandlung Karl Kress (circa 1950s-1960s)
Fine. Toned. Reverse showing evidence of multiple strikes.
An evocative Cretan mythological type, the obverse depicting Europa, the Phoenician princess who was carried off by Zeus in the form of the bull to the island of Crete. The scene references the legend of Europa being married to Zeus in the branches of a plane (platanus) tree, by a stream near the city of Gortyna. Though not a large number of these coins have survived, they were produced in some quantity, often overstruck on foreign coinage brought back to Crete by its mercenaries, the dies used until they were in a very worn state (as in the case of this example).
Gortyna in central Crete may have been settled as early as the Neolithic era (7000 BC), and during many periods of its ancient history, it was the wealthiest and most powerful city on the island. It was referred to as "well-walled Gortyna" by Homer in his epic Iliad, and it possessed a hill-top citadel, bustling market place, and a temple dedicated to Pythian Apollo. During the Roman period, Gortyna continued to prosper, and was capital of the province of Creta et Cyrenaica.
CRETE, Gortyna . 330-270 BC . AR Stater . Europa . **Rare and interesting**
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