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Eretria

This city was second only to Chalcis in importance in Euboea and may lay claim with reasonable show of probability to the following series of coins :—

»WW »SNG B »ANS

Circ. B.C. 600-511 (?).


FIG. 203.

361

Bull’s head, facing.
[Rev. Num., 1864, Pl. VII. 10.]
Incuse square.
EL ½ Hecte (?).
(Found in Euboea.)
Gorgon-head.Incuse square, diagonally divided.
AR Didr.
Id. (Fig. 203.)
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XXII. 3.]
Id. Lion’s head, facing, in one angle of incuse square.
AR Didr.
Id.Id.
AR Obol.
Id. [B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XXII. 710, and Babelon, Traité, Pl. XXXI. 14-17.]Incuse square, within which, lion’s head, facing; sometimes between.
AR Tetradr.

Unless the two pellets on these coins are meaningless, which is very improbable, they must be marks of value indicating that the so-called tetradrachms of circ. 266 grs. were in the sixth century didrachms and not tetradrachms. This appears to have been also the case at Athens before the reduction by half in the weight of the Attic silver unit of account effected by Hippias. See infra under Athens. Cf. also the silver coins of Etruria (p. 13 sq., supra), where a corresponding change in the nomenclature of the denominations is noticeable.


FIG. 204.

Gorgon-head (Fig. 204).Incuse square, within which Bull’s head, facing.
AR Tetradr.
Bull’s head, facing.
[Brit. Mus. Guide, Pl. V. 23.]
Id., diagonally divided.
AR Didr.

The Gorgoneion and Bull’s head may be symbols of the worship of Artemis Amarysia, a Moon-goddess (?) whose sanctuary near Eretria remained, down to a late date, a kind of Amphictyonic centre for all central and southern Euboea.

Circ. B.C. 511 (?)-490.

The new issue of Eretrian coins, which probably begins about B.C. 511 (Babelon, Traité, p. 685), is marked by a change of fabric. From this time the pieces are thinner, flatter, and more spread, and are distinguished by the letters or R (B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XXIII. 1-6). This series probably came to an end in B.C. 490, when Eretria was destroyed and its inhabitants sold into slavery by the Persian generals Datis and Artaphernes. The city was, however, shortly afterwards restored, for it took part in the battles of Artemisium, Salamis, and Plataea.


362

FIG. 205.

Cow scratching herself; on her back a swallow.Octopus in incuse square.
AR Tetradr.
(Fig. 205.)
Id.; no swallow.Id.
AR Didr.
Id.Id.
AR Dr.
Head of bull or cow, facing.Id.
AR Diob., Obol, and ½ Obol.
Gorgon-head.
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XXIII. 8.]
Forepart of horse springing from rock, in incuse square.
AR Obol.

The octopus or cuttle-fish (τευφις) was the well-known and recognized device or παρασημον of the town of Eretria, just as the owl was of Athens; for Themistocles, on one occasion, mockingly compared the Eretrians to cuttle-fish: τους δε ‘Ερετριεις επισκοπτον ελεγεν οσπερ τευφιδας μαχαιραν μεν εχειν καρδιαν δε μη εχειν (Plut. Apophth. Reg. et Imp. (Themist.), xiv; also Vita Themist., xi).

With the revolt and reconquest of Euboea by Athens in B.C. 445, the right of coinage appears to have been withdrawn from all the cities of the island, but when Euboea regained its autonomy in B.C. 411 it would seem that Eretria became the place of mintage of a series of federal coins then issued with the inscr. ΕΥΒΟΙ, ΕΥΒ, ΕΥ, etc., though with Eretrian types; and (doubtless under Peloponnesian influence) for a brief period according to the Aeginetic standard, as the following coins testify :—

Circ. B.C. 411-378.

Incuse square within which ΕVΒ Head of nymph, Euboea (?) r., hair rolled.
[Imhoof, Gr. M., Pl. I. 19.]
Bull recumbent l., head turned back.
AR Æginetic Stater 184 grs.
Head of nymph, hair rolled, round earring. [N. C., 1892, Pl. XV. 12.]Incuse square; ΕΥΒ Bull recumbent r.; above, grapes.
AR Æginetic Stater 182.6 grs.

The Aeginetic standard, however, took no firm root in Euboea, and from about B.C. 378, when Eretria again joined the Athenian alliance, the coins once more follow the Euboïc-Attic weights.

Circ. B.C. 378 to the Macedonian conquest, B.C. 338.

Head of nymph, Euboea (?), hair rolled.
[N. C., 1902, Pl. XV. 10; Imhoof, Gr. M., Pl. I. 20.]
ΕΥΒ Bull standing.
AR Euboïc-Attic Tetradr.
Id.ΕΥΒΟΙ Id. [Photiades Cat., Pl. III. 452].
AR Euboïc-Attic Tetradr.
Id. [B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XVII. 1-4.]ΕΥΒ or ΕΥΒΟΙ Head and neck of bull.
AR Euboïc-Attic Dr. and ½ Dr.

363

Similar. [Imhoof, Mon. gr., 224.]ΕΥ or ΕΥΒ Head and neck of bull.
AR Obol.
Similar. [Ibid.]ΕΥ Bull’s foot.
AR ½ Obol.
Similar head, behind, Ε.
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XVII. 9, 10.]
ΕΥΒ Vine branch with two bunches of grapes.
AR Diobol.

There are also small bronze coins with Eretrian types, Bull’s head. Rev. Sepia; Bull standing, Rev. Grapes; Head of Nymph, Rev. Bull's head. Inscr., ΕΥΒ, ΕΥΒΟ, &c., which belong to this period (B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XVII. 11-14).

In the Macedonian period there are no Eretrian coins, but after the liberation of Greece by Flamininus, they again became plentiful. Those of silver were struck in the name of Eretria, but the bronze coins usually, but not always, with the inscr. ΕΥΒΟΙΕΩΝ.

Circ. B.C. 197-146.
Bust of Artemis, with bow and quiver at her shoulder.ΕRΕΤΡΙΕΩΝ Ox standing. Magisstrates’ names, ΔΑΜΑΣΙΑΣ [Berlin], ΧΑΡΙΔΑΜΟΣ[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., p. lxv]. The whole in laurel wreath.
AR Tetradr.


FIG. 206.

Head of Artemis (Fig. 206).ΕΡΕΤΡΙΕΩΝ Ox recumbent.
AR Octobols.
Head of nymph.
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XXIII. 11.]
  „  Vine-branch
AR Tetrob.
Id. [Ibid., Pl. XXIII. 12.]  „  Head and neck of bull.
AR Triob.

All these denominations bear a magistrate’s name in nom. case.

Veiled female head.
[Ibid., Pl. XXIII. 13.]
ΕΡΕΤΡΙΕΩΝ Ox recumbent. Magistrate’s name.
Æ .65
Bull standing or recumbent, and star.
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XVII. 15, 16.]
ΕΥΒΟΙΕΩΝ Vine-branch with two bunches of grapes and star.
Æ .85-.65
Veiled female head.
[Ibid., Pl. XVII. 17.]
  „  Bull butting.
Æ .6
Id., facing. [Ibid., Pl. XVII. 18.]
  „  Prow.
Æ .6
Head of Hermes.
[Ibid., Pl. XVII. 19.]
  „  Ear of corn.
Æ .45

364

Imperial Times.

Among the Imperial coins of Eretria the only one which calls for remark is a coin of Commodus (N. C., 1902, p. 322), on the reverse of which is ΕΡΕΤΡΙΩΝ and a bust presenting three faces, that in the middle beardless and surmounted by a modius, the others, right and left, male bearded profiles. This coin is suggestive of the cultus of the Kabeiri, but see H. v. Fritze, Z. f. N., xxiv. 125.