LUCANIA. Metapontum. c. 340-330 BC

LUCANIA. Metapontum. c. 340-330 BC


AR Didrachm or Nomos, 7.84g (20mm, 12h). Φ..., magistrate. Head of Demeter to left, wearing wreath of grain ears, triple-pendant earring and simple necklace, and with a light veil at the back of her head / META Ear of barley with leaf to right; to right above leaf, oinochoe; below leaf, Φ.

References: HN Italy 1568. Johnston A8.3

Grade: An attractive and well struck example of excellent style. Light cleaning marks, otherwise, Good VF  (gk1198)

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The coinage of Metapontum features the goddess Demeter, who represented harvest and agriculture and was the goddess of fertility of the earth. This imagery was well suited for the coinage of Metapontum since it was well known for its agricultural superiority in growing barley so the coins always allude to this strength. Many ancient Greek coins share this in common; an allusion to the chief god/goddesses or exports from that given city state. The earliest coins from Metapontum are one-sided (reverse is an incuse of the obverse) and show a barley grain. While the style changed over time it still maintained its strong relationship with the harvest.