Stater (Coin) Portraying Mithrapata

A work made of silver.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of silver.

Date:

380/375 BC

Artist:

Greek; Lycia, Asia Minor

About this artwork

The purpose of the first portrait coins was to identify the ruler. The front side became a mirror of the sovereign’s self-image. The back was often used to communicate the ruler’s accomplishments or intentions. The profile portrait was used because it suited the very shallow depth and limited surface of the coin. The tiny images were carved by engravers into bronze dies, one for the front and another for the back. The coins were then struck, one by one, in a process similar to how modern coins are created today.

Mithrapata (r. 380–370 BC) is thought to be the first living person to present his portrait on coins. Previously coins had pictured divinities and mythical characters.

Currently Off View

Ancient and Byzantine Art

Culture

Ancient Greek

Title

Stater (Coin) Portraying Mithrapata

Origin

Anatolia

Date

380 BC–375 BC

Medium

Silver

Inscriptions

Obverse: Lion's scalp facing Reverse: Portrait of Mithrapata, triskeles lower right, Lycian inscription Mithripati around; all within incuse square Condition: Small areas of flat striking on beard, otherwise Near Mint State

Dimensions

Diam. 2.7 cm; 9.84 g

Credit Line

Katherine K. Adler Memorial Fund

Reference Number

2008.423

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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