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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.

Date:

411-356 BCE

Artist:

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

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium, Gallery 151

Culture

Ancient Greek

Title

Drachm (Coin) Depicting the Gorgon Medusa

Origin

Neapolis

Date

Struck 411 BCE–356 BCE

Medium

Silver

Inscriptions

Reverse: Ν Ε Ο Π "Neop[oliton]"

Dimensions

Diam. 1.5 cm; 3.71 g

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Reference Number

1922.4922

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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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