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    Incredible Gorgon Stater

    MYSIA. Cyzicus. Ca. 500-450 BC. EL stater (20mm, 16.07 gm). Facing Gorgoneion, head covered with writhing snakes, tongue protruding, tunny (tuna) fish left below / Quadripartite incuse square. Von Fritze 129, pl. IV, 15. BMFA 1445. Extremely rare and exceptionally well struck from fresh dies. NGC AU? 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    From The Providence Collection. 

    Cyzicus was an important city on the northwestern coast of Anatolia, well positioned to take advantage of trade across and through the Sea of Marmara. Its coinage was in more or less continuous production from about 550 BC to circa AD 630, a nearly 1,200 year span unmatched by any other ancient mint. The tunny (tuna) fish was the symbol of Cyzicus from mid-6th century BC, when the city began striking electrum staters and fractions that circulated so widely the generic term for a stater became a cyzicenus. A menagerie of creatures drawn from Greek mythology appeared on its coins, among them the almost comically ferocious Gorgon seen here. The Gorgons were three sisters whose terrible visages and gaze could turn one to stone. The mythology dates back to Minoan times, where they seem to have originated as sea deities; about 700 BC, Hesiod names the three Gorgons as Stheno, Euryale and Medusa and says they were the offspring of the sea monsters Keto and Phorcys. Of the three, Medusa is shown with writhing snakes instead of hair; the other two are often depicted with grotesque grins, fang-like boar's tusks, and protruding tongues. Medusa was famously slain by the hero Perseus and her head used as a weapon to turn his enemies to stone. Images of Gorgons appear frequently in Greek art as talismans of protection, particularly on the shields of Greek soldiers and as decorations for the breastplate. 

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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