Sunday, 22 August 2021

Monsters on Ancient coins

CRETE, Knossos. Stater (11.93g). about 425 – 360 BCE. Product of a union between Queen Pasiphaë and a white bull, the Minotaur was a ferocious man-eating beast, imprisoned in the Labyrinth of Daedalus. Theseus slew the Minotaur. This is a rare coin with less than 20 known.
Crete, Phaistos AR Stater. Mid-Late 4th century BCE. Herakles (his Latin name is Hercules) was the champion monster-slayer. In a fit of madness, Herakles killed his family; to atone for this crime he undertook a series of heroic quests. The Lernaean Hydra was one. Sever one of the Hydra’s heads and two grew back, making the monster hard to kill. Herakles slew the Hydra, helped by his companion Iolaus, who cauterized the neck with a torch as each head was cut off.
SIKYONIA, Sikyon. Circa 335-330 BCE. Bellerophon, riding Pegasus, killed the fire-breathing Chimaera (or Chimaira) with a block of lead impaled on a spear he lodged in the beast’s throat. The fire melted the lead, choking the beast. The Greek city of Sicyon, near Corinth adopted the chimaera as a symbol on coins, which are relatively common, from c. 430 down to about 280 BCE
Cerberus (or Kerberos) is a giant, ferocious three-headed dog who guards the gateway to the land of the dead. He is often depicted as the companion of Hades (or Pluto,) god of the underworld. As his 12th Labor, Herakles wrestles Cerberus into submission and drags him back to the land of the living. Cerberus appears on a magnificent electrum stater of Cyzicus (c. 500-450 BCE).