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Greek Islands Ancient Coins

"Knossos Coin-Silver Stater"

Knossos, the centre of the cult of Zeus, was the strongest city on Crete on historical times.

The Knossos mint, which had a considerable output of silver and bronze coins, was one of the most important on Crete. Iconographically, the representations on its coins revived its glorious mythical past. Minos, and the Labyrinth, the symbol of Minoan world-domination build by Daidalos as a home for the Minotaur, are rendered on the silver staters of Knossos dating from after 425 BC down to the second quarter of the 4th c. BC, and are in a sense the «punning representation» of the city that issued them. To the same mythical cycle belongs the stater depicting on each obverse a very fine female head, probably of Ariadne, adorned with reeds and bordered by maeander pattern symbolizing the Labyrinth. A notable example of the seal-engraver's art is furnished by the stater (320/10 BC) with the depiction of the head of Hera wearing a polos with palmettes on the obverse, and linear rendering of the Labyrinth on the reverse. The head of Hera on these issues recalls that on the didrachms of Argos. Crete is known to have enjoyed close communications with the Peloponnese, and will naturally have been influenced by its art.

ancient greek coins - silver stater
Silver stater c. 400 BC. Minotaur

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