Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Greek Crete Phaistos

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Antik Sikkeler

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Phaistos [ΦAIΣTOΣ] - ΦAIΣΣTION - Phaestus


Phaestus had been an important centre of Minoan palatial culture in the Bronze Age and is probably best known for an enigmatic clay disk [the Phaistos Disk] inscribed with a hieroglyphic script distinct from both the Linear A and Linear B familiar from elsewhere on Crete. After the collapse of Minoan civilization in the late thirteenth century BC, Phaestus was remembered in Greek mythology as one of three Cretan cities founded by the great king Minos. The other two were Knossos and Kydonia. Another, probably local, tradition is reported by the ancient travel-writer Pausanias, in which Phaestus was founded by a son of Heracles. This origin story seems to find support in the present tetradrachm, which depicts Hercules resting after his labours. The inclusion of the column in the background suggests the association of the hero with the foundation of the city. The reverse type depicts a charging bull and almost certainly serves to underline the Cretan context of the coinage. This is not just any bull, but the infamous Cretan Bull that served as a curse on the family of Minos and on Crete in general due to its destructive rampages throughout the island. As his Seventh Labour, Hercules was sent to Crete to carry off the Cretan Bull to Tiryns. Minos was very happy to have the hero take the beast away from Crete, but after it arrived at the court of Eurystheus of Tiryns the bull is said to have broken its bonds and made its way north to become a terror to the inhabitants of Marathon in Attica. It was later killed by the Attic hero Theseus on the eve of his departure to Crete to slay the Minotaur.

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