Printed Auction 40 Lot 60

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Mythological Labyrinth on Crete
Printed Auction 40 Lot 60

CRETE. Knossos. Circa 330-300 B.C. AR stater. 10.16 gm. 24 mm. Female head (Ariadne?) facing left, wearing pendant earring, hair rolled and bound with corn wreath / Labyrinth of maeander pattern with K at center and four small incuse squares, one at each corner, all within shallow incuse circle. Le Rider, Crétoises pl. VI, 23-24, and pl. VII, 1. Svoronos, Numismatique 40, pl. V, 16 (same obverse die?) and 41, pl. V, 17 (same reverse die). SNG Copenhagen -. BMC -. Very Fine; pleasing deep cabinet toning; attractive high relief bust; a few small edge splits, minor marks, and flat strike areas. Very Rare.

According to myth, King Minos of Crete ordered the construction of a labyrinth to imprison his wife's monster son, half man-half bull, the Minotaur. At the time, Athens was subject to Crete and forced by Minos to send seven youths and seven maidens to be fed to the Minotaur each year. The Athenian hero Theseus, aided by Minos's daughter Ariadne, slayed the Minotaur with a sword and found his way out of the maze with a ball of twine he had unravelled. Archaeologists have found remains that could have been part of this inescapable maze. In any event, the Labyrinth has long been the iconic symbol of Crete.

Coins of Crete featuring the mythic labyrinth are extremely rare and much sought after.

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