Ionia, Myshemihecte


Ionia, Myshemihecte (obverse) Ionia, Myshemihecte (reverse)

This is one of the first coins ever struck. It bears a geometric pattern that can easily be interpreted as a human eye. Around 600 BC, when coinage was introduced to the cities of Ionia, the motif of eyes was very common. The Greeks used to paint pairs of eyes on drinking cups; the eyes had an apotropaic purpose, they were thus thought to ward away dangerous spirits. Such apotropaic symbols were very common on coins as well. This goes well with the thesis that the first coins were minted as sacrifices to the gods.


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