The Greek colonies of southern Italy minted their early coins with a peculiar incuse technique. The relief design of the obverse was repeated intaglio on the reverse. This technique is often connected with Pythagoras who spent his old age in Metapontum. However, the famous mathematician arrived in southern Italy only approx. 20 years after the incuse technique was introduced in southern Italy. It was thus clearly invented by some other genius.
This coin originates from Metapontum, situated in Southern Italy on the gulf of Tarentum. The hinterland of Metapontum was – and is – very fertile. In Antiquity this was seen as a sign of grace from the goddess Demeter. Being the major goddess of Metapontum, Demeter's symbol, the ear of barley, was included in Metapontum's coinage.