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Modern Coin with an Ancient Theme


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There are a lot of them from all over. Greece as well as Cprus has some very interesting ones...thought I would post about one I found very interesting.




KM 66 Cyprus 50 Cent Coin Depicting Europa being Abducted by Zeus in the Form of a Bull / 1994 Copper - Nickel


This coin depicts the abduction of Europa by Zeus transfigured into a bull. As the myth goes, Europa was a Phoenician Princess, the daughter of King Agenor of Tyre and Telephassa. The god Zeus saw her as she was gathering flowers by the sea and was enamored with her. Overwhelmed by love and passion for Europa, Zeus transformed himself into the form of a magnificent white bull and appeared before her.


When Europa saw the great bull she was taken with it's beauty. The bull was uncommonly gentle so she caressed it and spread flowers about his neck and horns. Feeling no fear of the docile beast she dared to climb upon his back. With the Princess on his back, the bull dove into the sea and swam to the island of Crete.


Europa's brothers, Cadmus, Cilix, and possibly Phoenix were ordered to look for Europa and instructed not to return until they had found her. It was a hopeless quest, and the brothers became exiles. Cilix ended his search in Asia Minor and established Cilicia. Cadmus consulted the oracle of Delphi and was advised to give up his search and instead to travel until he encountered a cow. He was to follow this cow and to found a city where the cow would lie down; this city became Thebes.


Cadmus and his companions went out to fetch water for their new settlement at a fountain where all but Cadmus were slain by a dragon. Cadmus killed the dragon and, at the prompting of the goddess Athena, sowed some of its teeth in the ground. Armed men sprang up from the earth, just as they later would for Jason under similar circumstances. Using the same trick that would eventually serve Jason, Cadmus caused the men to fight amongst themselves until only five were left standing. These five, together with Cadmus, became the original inhabitants of Thebes with Cadmus as their king. He is said to have taught them the alphabet and the art of writing and indeed, the Greek alphabet historically derives from Phoenicia.


The many sources differ as to the relationship between Phoenix and Europa, her father, and brothers. Some state that he is Agenors son, others state that he was Agenors brother and father to Europa and her brothers. Whether he is included as a brother of Agenor or as a son, it is clear that his role in mythology was as a King and the eponym of the Phoenicians.

Upon their arrival at Crete, Zeus revealed his true identity and ravished Europa (often referred to as the Rape of Europa) and Europa became the first queen of Crete. She bore Zeus three sons Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon, who would become the three judges of the Underworld once they died. She eventually married Asterion, the king of Crete, who adopted her three sons and raised them as his own. When he died he gave his throne to Minos who promptly banished his brothers after quarrelling with them.


The Greek historian Herodotus presents a variant story that states that Europa was kidnapped by Minoans who were seeking to avenge the kidnapping of a princess from Argos. This may have been an attempt to rationalize the earlier myth or maybe he was stating that the myth was a glorified version of brutal facts — the abduction and rape of a Phoenician aristocrat. He presents the myth as a possible remnant of oral history about the settlement of the island and it is by no means far fetched. Cretans were great sailors and must have come from some mainland area by raft or ship and would have interacted with other kingdoms once settled. They brought with them their cattle and other livestock which were of great value and took a central role in everyday life figuring prominently in their sports, arts and religious imagery. The sacred bull was paramount and In the mythological transformation of history the bull provides the transportation for the founding mother of the Minoan people.


In the end, Zeus reproduced the shape of the white bull that was used to seduce Europa, in the stars. Today, we can recognize its shape in the constellation Taurus









The inscription says "King Timocharis" in Cyprosyllabic, King Timocharis was a king in Cyprus, the Kingdom of Marion,around the 4th century BC and this coin is a composition based on one of his coins pictured below...It is used by cyprus because they believe that since cyprus is on the path between Phoenicia and Crete...they must have visited Cyprus on the way ...This scene is also the logo for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus.




Timocharis, end of 5th century B.C. Silver Diobol, Archaeological Museum of Nicosia

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Nice write up. You could create quite the wonderful exhibit just around this coin :ninja:

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