About this artwork
The front (obverse) of this coin depicts the head of goddess Demeter facing right, veiled and crowned with grain; her hair is rolled at the brow and she wears a circular earring. The back (reverse) of the coin depicts a tripod lebes, with 3-ring handles from 2 of which hang knotted taenia.
The island of Lesbos was famous for its writers, including the poets Alcaeus and Sappho, and for its cult of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. Visitors could bring their questions to Demeter’s temple, where an oracle answered them by reading cobwebs. In an unusual show of cooperation, the two rival cities of Mytilene and Phocaea agreed to share a mint, which produced this beautiful coin showing the island’s patron goddess crowned with a wreath of grain.
- Ancient Greek
- Hecta (Coin) Depicting the Goddess Demeter
- Struck 400 BCE–350 BCE
- Diam. 1.1 cm; 2.54 g
- Gift of Martin A. Ryerson