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Drachm (Coin) Depicting the Gorgon Medusa

A work made of silver.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of silver.


411-356 BCE


Greek; minted in Neapolis, ancient Macedon, Greece

About this artwork

The front (obverse) of this coin depicts a Gorgon’s head with neat, tight curls. The back (reverse) depicts the head of Parthenos of Neapolis (modern Naples) laureate to right.

The three Gorgon sisters were winged deities of which Medusa is the most famous. She bore the winged horse Pegasus to her love, the god Poseidon. Her head, cut off by Perseus, was worn by Athena as her protective aegis. Neopolis, in a horse-breeding area, chose Pegasus’ mother for their coin.

When Athena discovered that Poseidon, the god of the sea, had fallen in love with the beautiful Gorgon Medusa, she turned the girl into a monster, and that is how Medusa appears on this coin from Neapolis in Macedonia. With snakes as hair, Medusa turned to stone any man who dared to look at her.


On View, Gallery 151


Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Greek


Drachm (Coin) Depicting the Gorgon Medusa


Kavála (Minted in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Struck 411 BCE–356 BCE




Reverse: Ν Ε Ο Π "Neop[oliton]"


Diam.: 1.5 cm (5/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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