Ancient Greece - AR Diobol - Miletos, Ionia - Circa 550-494

Denomination:  Diobol (1/12 Stater)                                                 

Date: 550 - 494 BCE

Mint: Melitos, Ionia                                                                           

Mount: 18k gold

Description: Miletos, Ionia, AR Diobol. Late 6th century BC.  Obverse: Lion's head right Reverse: Floral star pattern in incuse square.                                                                                                                              

History: This is one of the most well-known Greek coin types of the archaic period, minted in the region of Ionia from about 550 BCE until 494 BCE, when Miletus fell to the Persians.

The ancient Greek city of Miletus in Asia Minor was located on what is now the west coast of Turkey.  In the century before Athens rose to prominence, this was the intellectual and commercial center of the Greek world.  As home of Thales, the “father of philosophy,” it has been called the birthplace of the modern world. 

The lion head is sometimes referred to as a ‘lion protome’, with ‘protome’ being an archeological term meaning, ‘decorative motif in the form of an animal or human head’. The lion's mane and sunburst vary in style between earlier and later versions of the coin.

The reverse sun image, which is often described as a star or a flower, appears on many Milesian coins and likely represents Apollo, patron of Miletus and the nearby sanctuary of Didyma. Apollo was the god of youth and music.