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Greek Islands Ancient Coins

"Phaistos Coin-Silver Stater"

Phaistos, one of the oldest and most important Cretan cities, stood on the river Lithaios to the west of Gortyna. Each numismatic output began in the 5th c. BC and was interrupted in the early 3rd c. BC, when the city was destroyed by the Gortynians. The killing of the Lernaian Hydra by Herakles is engraved with vigorous power on a silver didrachm dating towards the end of the 4th c. BC. The hero is shown with the lion-skin headdress hanging around his shoulders; he has just sized one the monster's heads and is preparing to crush it with his raised club. The crab between the hero's legs has presumably been sent by the jealous Hera to hinder his efforts. These didrachm is overstruck on a coin of Kyrene, a phenomenon found with the other Cretan coins of the period. Africa supplied Crete with precious metal, brought with them by Cretan mercenaries from Kyrene in the form of silver coins.

A later silver stater depicts the winged giant Talos, the brazen hero made by Hephaistos for Minos, to protect the island. The giant, depicted frontally, is ready to throw the rock he is holding in his right hand at anyone who dares approach Crete.

rare coins - silver stater rare coins - silver stater
Silver stater c. 300-280/270 BC. O. Bull R. The winged giant Talos

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