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HOME : Greek Coins : Miscellaneous : Ionic Electrum Hekte
Ionic Electrum Hekte - C.2051
Origin: City of Phokaia
Circa: 450 BC to 440 BC

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Electrum

Location: United States
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Obverse: Head of a Gorgon

Reverse: Bust of the Goddess Aphrodite

The Ionian city of Phokaia (also spelled Phocaea) was located on the coast of Lydia in Asia Minor. Phokaia was part of the Ionian Confederacy, the Paniones, grouping cities founded in Asia Minor by Ionians fleeing what was to become Achaia, in northern Peloponnese, where they had earlier settled along the southern coast of the Gulf of Corinth west of Sicyon, when the area was conquered by Ach├Žans who gave it their name. Phokaia was very active in establishing colonies in various parts of the Mediterranean during the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., as far as France (Massalia, now Marseille), Corsica (Alalie) and Spain (Tartessus). The famed historian Herodotus credits them for being the first Greeks to make long travels at sea and for discovering the Adriatic Sea, northern Italy (Tyrrhenia) and Spain, and tells how they fled to Cyrnus (Corsica) when Harpagus, a general of Cyrus the Great, took their city in 545B. C., as part of his conquest of Ionia (they may also have founded Massalia on that same occasion). They later moved to Reggio in southern Italy after a naval battle against the Carthaginians and Etruscans (called Tyrrhenians by Herodotus).

How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of long forgotten empires. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This coin is a memorial an ancient city passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.
- (C.2051)


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