Ancient Greek Coin of Clazomenae

24 Jan 2018  Wed

Experts believe that Clazomenae produced some of the most beautiful facing-head portraits of all Greek coins. Most of these coins were unsigned, but later on, an artist named Theodotos signed it. Experts suggest that the credit for coin designs have been stolen this way on numerous occasions only at Cydonia on Crete and at Thurium in Lucania.

Apollo was the main god of Clazomenae. The design on the coin looks similar to the Apollo heads of Amphipolis. Some inspiration is also taken from Kimon’s Arethusa and the Helios portraits of Rhodes as well.

Unlike other Greek cities, Swans were given greater importance when it comes to Coinage of Clazomenae. Experts also believe that the name of the city came from the verb klazein which was used to describe the whirr of a bird’s wings or their loud calls. Swans on coins of Clazomenae have been depicted in various forms. Some feature Swans with wings open as it stretches its neck over its shoulders. In some coins, the Swan stands forward, wings raised and its neck is depicted in a beautiful S-shape. This goes to show that Swans were closely studied for creating these designs.

The coin shown above depicts a very detailed design. The Swan’s stare is focussed. The 4.05 g Drachm was struck in circa 360. It features a Laureate front-facing head of Apollo, wearing chlamys held with a round pin. The reverse features a standing Swan with open wings.

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