- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! NumisWiki Is An Enormous Unique Resource Including Hundreds Of Books And Thousands Of Articles Online!!! The Column On The Left Includes Our "Best of NumisWiki" Menu If You Are New To Collecting - Start With Ancient Coin Collecting 101 NumisWiki Includes The Encyclopedia of Roman Coins and Historia Nummorum If You Have Written A Numismatic Article - Please Add It To NumisWiki All Blue Text On The Website Is Linked - Keep Clicking To ENDLESSLY EXPLORE!!! Please Visit Our Shop And Find A Coin You Love Today!!!

× Resources Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
How to
Index Of All Titles


Aes Formatum
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Pottery
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Armenian Numismatics Page
Augustus - Facing Portrait
Bronze Disease
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Coins
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Holy Land Antiquities
Horse Harnesses
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
Kushan Coins
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Medusa Coins
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Paleo-Hebrew Script Styles
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Coin Legends and Inscriptions
Roman Keys
Roman Locks
Roman Militaria
Roman Military Belts
Roman Mints
Roman Names
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Serdi Celts
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite

   View Menu

Medusa Coins: They'll Transform You

By Reid Goldsborough

Roman Republic, L. Plautius Plancus denarius (3.9g), c. 47 B.C. O: Medusa smiling,
R: Aurora or Victory conducting the four horses of the sun. SRCV I 429.

Also see the NumisWiki Medusa Page

Coins Depicting Medusa for Sale in the Forum Ancient Coins Shop

[A previous version of this article appeared in the June 2004 issue of the Celator. This version updated by Joseph T. Sermarini in 2020.]

Ancient coins, at their best, inspire awe. You gaze in wonderment at the artistry, history, and mythology. If you believe the mythology, staring at one genre of coinage will go beyond this by turning you into stone.

Medusa coins won't really turn flesh and bone into rock, but they just may transform your collecting habits the more you learn about them. These coins are popular and frequently written about, and as with many ancient coins, the more you dig under the surface, the more interesting they become.

Medusa is not only the ugliest female visage ever to appear on the face of a coin, she's also, arguably, the ugliest female visage imaginable on a circulating coin. In her most common depiction, squirmy snakes rise out of her head and sometimes surround her face. She sticks her tongue out rudely and bares her teeth in malevolence, ridicule, or schizoid hysteria. Her steely eyes glower or laugh at you.

It's not being chauvinistic or misogynistic to joke that looking long enough at the Medusa image on ancient coins just might make a healthy heterosexual man switch sides or take a vow of celibacy.


Numismatists most often refer to the snaky figure that appears on these coins using the words Gorgon (or the Gorgon), Gorgoneion, or Gorgo, but they sometimes use the name Medusa (the Greek spelling is Medousa), who was one of the three mythological Gorgon sisters, the others being Stheno and Euryale.

I believe the image on these coins was that of Medusa and not that of one of her sisters, a generic gorgon, or a lumped-together amalgamation of the three Gorgon sisters, and I believe the ancients intended it this way, judging by the literature of antiquity. Homer in both the Iliad and the Odyssey referred to a single Gorgon, but in the eighth century B.C., still before the first coinage, the poet and mythologist Hesiod increased the number of Gorgons to three. No doubt because of her central role in the mythology, Hesiod sometimes referred to Medusa as the Gorgon instead of as Medusa.

Others afterward, including Pindar in the fifth century B.C., Apollodoros in the second century B.C., and Ovid in the first century A.D., did the same, writing about the three Gorgons and sometimes referring to Medusa as Medusa and other times as the Gorgon. Though Medusa and her sisters Stheno and Euryale as a group are referred to in antiquity as the Gorgons (the Greek spelling/transliteration is Gorgones), I'm not aware of either of her sisters, unlike Medusa, being referred to simply as the Gorgon.

The word Gorgoneion is used to mean the disembodied head or mask of the Gorgon, which was placed on shields, breastplates, walls, and so on, as Athena in the mythology placed Medusa's disembodied head on her aegis (typically on a breastplate or shield, sometimes a cloak), but it was still the face of Medusa that was portrayed. The Gorgon mask, or Gorgoneion, may have existed in antiquity before Medusa's body was added and the mythology was fleshed out, but this predated the coinage. Some people in antiquity believed that a race of hairy, warlike gorgons existed in the past, but this would have also predated these coins.

One modern meaning of the word gorgon is an ugly, frightening woman, but this generic broadening of the meaning didn't happen until long after the flowering of ancient Greece and Rome.

Not only did classical culture know Medusa better than the other two Gorgon sisters, popular culture today does as well. Finally, using one name instead of several is more straightforward and less confusing. It's for all these reasons that I'm referring to these coins as Medusa coins.


The mythological and historical context surrounding Medusa is as fascinating as the coins themselves. The mythology can change depending on who in antiquity was telling it, but the basics of the most common version are this:

Medusa was the only mortal among the three Gorgon sisters. Daughter of the sea gods Phorcys and Ceto, she was once a beautiful maiden but was turned into a snake-haired monster by Athena for sleeping with (or being ravaged by) Poseidon in Athena's temple. Men who looked at Medusa turned to stone. The hero Perseus later killed Medusa at her home on an island off Libya by cutting off her head with a harpa (sickle), a scene depicted on some coins, finding her by looking at her reflection in a shield given to him by Athena to avoid being turned to stone himself. From Medusa's gaping neck sprang forth the winged horse Pegasus and the giant Chrysaor, her children by Poseidon. Perseus, chased by Medusa's hissing sisters, Stheno and Euryale, escaped with Medusa's disembodied head, giving it to Athena, who placed it in the center of her aegis. The dead head had the same power of turning to stone those who looked at it.

No doubt because Medusa was once a beautiful maiden, some images of her depict a tame or even beautiful face, with later images in both ancient art and coinage more likely to depict her this way. This depiction is sometimes called the Rondanini Medusa, after the work of the Greek sculptor Phidias (or possibly Kresilas), c. 440 B.C., with an ancient Roman copy of this depiction preserved by the Rondanini family of Rome and that's now in the Munich Glyptotek. Even this Medusa face, however, is still surrounded by snakes.

Medusa may have originally been an Amazonian serpent-goddess who symbolized the female mysteries and the untamable forces of nature. At that time, Medusa was an aspect of the Amazonian Athena (Athene), but the Greeks according to this theory separated the two and made them enemies.

Athena wasn't the only one in mythology and history to carry or display an image of Medusa as a protective totem against enemies and evil. Medusa appeared on the shields and breastplates of soldiers as well as on pottery, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, gates, and buildings. Medusa may have been mythological, but her presence in the classical world was very real.

Medusa's frightening appearance on coins served a propaganda purpose, as did many coin designs, in this case announcing to enemies and would-be enemies, "Don't mess with us." Warfare was endemic in the classical world, a way of life, and death, as it has been throughout much of history. What we read about in the newspaper was experienced firsthand, in some way or another, by virtually everyone. Medusa coins can serve to bring home this harsh reality and reinforce our appreciation of our lot.

Deeper Meanings

Many explanations of the origins or deeper meaning of Medusa have been suggested over the years, some fairly farfetched, all interesting. The Medusa image has been described as:

  • The head of an octopus, squid, or cuttlefish
  • A psychedelic mushroom
  • A variable star
  • The man in the moon
  • The sun
  • An underworld demon
  • A gorilla
  • The personification of the fear of sea waves, thunder and lightning, volcanic eruptions, darkness, animals, nightmares, the unknown, or fear in general
  • The personification of the barren coast of Libya, where the Amazonian Athene was thought to have originated
  • The personification of female wisdom, female power, female creativity, or female rage
  • A symbol of fecal fertility

Perhaps the most realistic explanation of the deeper meaning is anthropological, with the Medusa image being described as originating from a ritual mask common to primitive cults. On the other hand, in his excellent 2000 book Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon, Stephen R. Wilk makes a persuasive case for Medusa representing fear of death in the form of the face of a putrefying corpse.

But the most intriguing explanations, in my view, are psychosexual. Like the Medusa image itself, these explanations are graphic, horrifying, and fascinating. Though none of this is salacious, if you find matters involving sexuality unpleasant, you may want to skip what immediately follows and jump to the section below subtitled "The Coins."

Many have connected Medusa with sexuality, men as well as women. Freud, as you might expect, was one such theorist, linking her to the male fear of castration. Earlier, Goethe and Dante both interpreted Medusa as a dangerous seductive force to be resisted. One feminist perspective is that Medusa represents the personification of rape. Another feminist perspective, put forth by Page DuBois in her 1988 book Sewing the Body: Psychoanalysis and Ancient Representations of Women, is that Medusa symbolizes women's subversive, self-sufficient sexuality.

But the most horrifying psychosexual explanation, detailed among other places by Ellen D. Reeder in her 1996 book Pandora: Women in Classical Greece, is that the fundamental meaning of Medusa is a symbol of male fear of devouring female sexual potency. Building upon Freud's earlier thinking, Reeder theorized that Medusa's snaky locks represent pubic hair, her face female genitalia. In the mythology, Reeder points out, only men are turned into stone by gazing at Medusa.

This has to do, according to Barbara G. Walker in her 1983 book The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, with what's been termed the "toothed vagina."This symbol of biting, devouring female sexuality is thought have originated with the primordial fear that a woman's privates might amputate a man's privates during sex. This superstition, according to Walker, has existed in many different cultures around the world throughout history, among other places in China, Polynesia, Persia, the Islamic world, and medieval Christianity. And perhaps, even if subliminally, it existed in ancient Greece and Rome as well.

The psychosexual explanation ties in with how the Medusa image was used in patriarchal Greece and Rome. It could well be, at least on some level, that it's behind the fright caused by looking at the Medusa image and why men placed it on their armor when fighting other men and on coins when trading with other men.

Regardless of how you ultimately explain her, Medusa was a significant presence in the ancient world. Medusa, as a concept, is also used today. A Web search revealed that Medusa is the name of a brand of computer security software, an all-girl heavy metal rock band, a women's "guerilla" poetry group, a monthly Gothic dance party in Amsterdam, an organization advocating the conservation of wild plants in the Mediterranean area, a hotel in Australia ... the list goes on.

The most obvious aspect to how the Medusa myth has been used is Medusa's "interpretability." As Marjorie Garber and Nancy J. Vickers point out in the introduction of their 2001 book The Medusa Reader, "What is most compelling in the long history of the myth and its retellings is Medusa's intrinsic doubleness: at once monster and beauty, disease and cure, poison and remedy. The woman with snaky locks who could turn the unwary into stone has come to stand for all that is obdurate and irresistible."

The Coins

Ancient coins give visual and tactile substance to the concept of Medusa. I've delineated 60 ancient Greek, Roman, and Celtic coin types featuring Medusa as a major and dramatic design element -- either the face of Medusa filling the coin's flan or as a disembodied head carried by Perseus. I'm not including here coin types in which the image of Medusa plays a smaller, less dramatic role, such as those in which the Medusa image appears at the center of a triskeles(three-leg design); on a shield or breastplate; as a decorative totem worn around the neck, on the shoulder, or on a cloak or helmet; as a secondary symbol in one of coin's fields; or as a countermark.

Perusing this list may give you ideas of coins to add to your want list or more insight into the coins you already have. Jerry Zayac is one collector who specializes in collecting Medusa coins. He says he first started collecting them when he came across "this ugly large coin" traveling in the Ukraine a few years ago. He wasn't looking for coins but just happened across an Olbian cast bronze in an antique shop, a coin that had been recovered locally near the ruins of Chersonesus. "From that point I just became fascinated with any depictions of Medusa on ancient coinage." He has a large and impressive collection, with fifty coins from twenty different cities, ranging from Italy to the Ukraine.

The following catalog of Medusa coins, as with all efforts of this type, is incomplete, a work-in-progress, though I believe it includes the most representative and interesting types, particularly those that are on the market frequently but also some that are seldom seen. Undoubtedly there are more. The types I've indicated as common are the most affordable; the types I've indicated as rare are among the most expensive. None of the coins illustrated here cost me more than $150.

I've also included here images of a few "fouree" ancient counterfeits, modern counterfeits, modern replicas, and modern tokens that ape or pay tribute to the Medusa image on ancient coins. While not nearly as appealing as authentic and official coins, "pseudonumia" such as this is interesting in its way.

I've taken a stylistic approach with the ancient Medusa coins categorized below. I've listed under the same type coins of the same style in different denominations from the same mint as well as coins that differ only slightly in style from the same or nearby mints. I've attributed these coins according to commonly used references. Special thanks to Gorgoneion coin specialist Ed Snible for reviewing the attributions, though any mistakes or omissions remain my own.

Greek Era Coins

Typically Medusa appears on Greek and related coins as a head facing front that fills the coin's flan. There are several main styles, with some coins combining two or more of these styles: Wild snake-hair, snakes around head in a snaky crown, subdued hair (sometimes with Medusa morphing into other figures such as Apollo, Helios, or Alexander the Great), wings on head, tongue protruding, tongue inside mouth, and baring teeth ferociously.

Medusa appears on both obverses and reverses of Greek coins, roughly twice as often on the obverse.

You can find Medusa on Greek-era coins of silver, bronze, gold, electrum, and billon. As with Greek coins in general, most were struck, but some were cast. They range from the very small (hemitartemorion, or 1/8 obol) to the very large(100-gram AE 70s), from the very inexpensive (about $15 or so) to many thousands of dollars. As one pricy example, relates dealer Barry Murphy, an Athenian wappenmünzen tetradrachm sold for the equivalent of $17,700 (including buyer's fee) though a Leu Numismatik auction in 1999. Very recently, a Syracusan gold tetralitron, with the Medusa image inside a shield on the obverse, sold through CNG's Triton VII auction for $63,250 (including buyer's fee).

Here are the major stylistic types:

Populonia, Etruria, didrachm and drachm, c. 5th-3rd century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding and long hair, x's or v's beneath, R: blank or x-marks. Sear Greek 272-275.

Motya, Sicily, obol, c. 415-405 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding and beaded hair, R: palm tree. Sear Greek 867. Also bronze (Sear Greek 1151).

Syracuse, Sicily, gold obol/didrachm, c. 405-380 B.C. O: Athena left, R: Medusa with tongue protruding, wavy hair, and snakes circling head. Sear Greek 948. Also gold dilitron (rare).

Kamarina, Sicily, bronze trias and onkia, c. 413-405 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue inside mouth, R: owl left holding lizard in claw, three pellets in exergue (trias, Sear Greek 1062),
one pellet in exergue (onkia, Sear Greek 1064).

Himera, Sicily, bronze hemilitron, pentonkion, or trias, c. 430-420 B.C. O: Medusa with smile and protruding tongue, hair standing on end, R: six pellets for hemilitron, five pellets for pentonkion, three pellets for trias. Sear Greek1105-1107. Smaller bronzes also issued with two and one pellet on reverse.

Selinos, Sicily, cast bronze tetras, 17g, c. 435-415 B.C. O: Medusa with teeth exposed, R: Medusa. Calciati I pg. 233, 2.

Selinos. Sicily, cast bronze trias, 10g, c. 435-415 B.C. O: Medusa with placid face, R: Selinon leaf and four pellets above. Calciati I pg. 234, 3.

Selinos. Sicily, cast bronze tetras, 10g, c. 435-415 B.C. O: Medusa with mouth open, R: celery leaf and three pellets above. Calciati I pg. 234, 4.

Olbia, Sarmatia, cast AE 70, c. 3rd to 1st century B.C. O: Medusa with protruding tongue, R: eagle right holding dolphin. Sear Greek 1682. Also AE 70, Medusa with tongue inside mouth (described in some sources as Medusa, in some as"female head"), eagle right holding dolphin, and AE 35, Medusa with tongue inside mouth, eagle left holding dolphin.

Olbia, Sarmatia, cast AE 28-40, c. 3rd to 1st century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue inside mouth, R: wheel spokes. Sear Greek 1683.

Apollonia Pontika, Thrace, drachm (common and commonly forged), c. 450-400 B.C. O: anchor and crayfish, R: Medusa with tongue protruding and hair of snakes. Sear Greek 1655.

Apollonia Pontika, Thrace, drachm, c. 400-350 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding and hair of snakes. R: anchor and crayfish. Similar to the above coin but Medusa is now on the obverse (convex) side.

Maroneia, Thrace, hemiobol, c. 398-385 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, R: grapes inside incuse square. Schornert-Geiss, Die Munzpragung von Maroneia 354.

Thraco-Macedonian hemiobol, Mid 5th - 4th Century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue inside mouth, R: facing incuse head of a lion or panther. Unpublished, FORVM GS92897.

Neapolis, Macedonia, archaic stater, drachm, and trihemiobol, c. 510-480 B.C. O:Medusa with tongue protruding and fierce expression, R: incuse square. Sear Greek 1303-1306.

Neapolis, Macedonia, classical drachm, hemidrachm (common), AE 11, c. 411-348 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, R: female head right, possibly Artemis. Sear Greek 1416-1418.

Amphipolis, Macedonia, AE 20-27, after 168 B.C. during Roman period. O: Medusa with tongue inside mouth, long hair, wings in hair, R: helmeted Athena standing left, holding Nike, shield, spear. SNG Cop. 85, 86.

Athens wappenmünzen didrachm (rare), c. 545-515 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, R: incuse square. Sear Greek 1834. Fractions as well (Rosen 197, 198).

Athens wappenmünzen tetradrachm (rare), c. 515-510 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, R: bull within incuse square. Sear Greek 1835.

Athens wappenmünzen tetradrachm (rare), c. 515-510 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, R: lion/panther within incuse square. Sear Greek 1836.

Koroneia, Boeotia, obol, c. 375 B.C. O: Boeotian shield, R: Medusa with K and O on either side. Sear Greek 2421.

Corinth trihemiobol, c. 350-306 B.C. O: Pegasos left, R: Medusa with tongue inside mouth. Sear Greek 2638.

Seriphos, Cyclades, AE 17-20, c. 2nd century B.C. O: helmeted Perseus, R: Medusa with subdued hair above harpa (sickle). Sear Greek 3142.

Methymna, Lesbos, diobol, c. 500-450 B.C. O: Medusa with wide mouth, R: Athena left. Rosen 550.

Mytilene, Lesbos, archaic billon stater, c. mid-6th century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, wide mouth, and curly hair, R: incuse square. Sear Greek 3484.

Mytilene, Lesbos, electrum sixth stater/hecte, c. 521-478 B.C. O: Medusa with wild hair and wide mouth, R: Bearded Herakles right, inside incuse square. BMC Troas etc. p.157, 14.

Mytilene, Lesbos, electrum sixth stater/hecte, c. 450-330 B.C. O: Pan right, R: Medusa with tongue inside mouth and subdued hair, inside incuse square. Sear Greek 4246.

Abydos, Troas, drachm, 3/4 drachm, obol, hemiobol, hemitartemorion (1/8 obol), c. 480-450 B.C. O: eagle left, R: Medusa with tongue protruding and wild hair. Sear Greek 4002-4006.

Amisos, Pontos, AE 26-31, c. late 2nd to early 1st century B.C., O: Athena right, R: Perseus holding harpa (sickle) in right hand, Medusa's severed head in left hand, Medusa's body at his feet, AMI-SOY. Sear Greek 3637. Similar coins, with different inscriptions, from Kabeira (Sear Greek 3652), Komana (Sear Greek 3656), Amastris (Sear Greek 3674), Sinope (Sear Greek 3707), Chabacta (SNG BM Black Sea 1253), Pharnaceia (SNG BM Black Sea 1275), and Taulara (SNG BM Black Sea 1293).

Kyzikos, Mysia, electrum stater (rare), c. 478-413 B.C., O: Medusa with tongue protruding, tunny (fish) below, R: incuse square. Boston MFA 1445.

Parion, Mysia, archaic drachm (sometimes referred to as 3/4 drachm or tetrobol), hemidrachm (common), c. 480 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, R: incuse square. Sear Greek 3917, 3918.

Parion, Mysia, classical hemidrachm (common), c. 350-300 B.C. O: bull looking back, R: Medusa with tongue protruding and snakes circling head. Sear Greek 3919 (A above bull, PI beneath), 3920 (club beneath bull), 3921 (grapes beneath bull), 3922 (star beneath bull).

Parion, Mysia, tetradrachm (rare), c. 2nd century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, R: Nike left carrying palm branch. Sear Greek 3923.

Parion, Mysia, AE 23/24, c. 2nd-1st century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue in mouth, R: eagle right. SNG Von Aulock 1330.

Parion, Mysia, AE 17, c. 2nd-1st century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue in mouth, R: bull right. SNG Cop. 273.

Miletos, Ionia, electrum stater, c. 600-550 B.C. O: double Medusa, chin to chin, R: three punches. Sear Greek 3441.

Ephesos, Ionia, 1/12 stater, 1/24 stater, c. mid-6th century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding, wide mouth, and wild hair, R: incuse square. Cf. Aufhäuser 14, lot 143, 144.

Selge, Pisidia, Asia Minor, trihemiobol (common), c. 370-360 B.C. O: Medusa with protruding tongue, R: Athena. Sear Greek 5473 (Athena right), 5475 (Athena left).

Selge, Pisidia, trihemiobol (common), c. 3rd century B.C. O: Medusa with long hair morphing into Apollo or Helios, R: Athena. Sear Greek 5478, 5479 (spear head behind Athena's head). Similar but less common coin from Etenna, Pisidia, with Athena, astragalos (knuckle-bone symbol), and harpa (sickle) on reverse, Head p. 708.

Selge, Pisidia, 3/4 obol, c. 3rd century B.C. O: Medusa, R: lion right. Sear Greek 5480, 5481 (astragalos behind lion's head).

Etenna, Pisidia, obol, c. mid-4th century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue inside mouth, R: harpa (sickle). Sear Greek 5457.

Aspendos, Pamphylia, bronze, c. 4th-3rd century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue inside mouth and hair in big circles, R: caduceus. Sear Greek 5403.

Eikonion, Lycaonia, bronze, c. 2nd half of 1st century B.C. O: Perseus carrying Medusa's disembodied head on his left shoulder, R: Zeus on throne. Sear Greek5504.

Mallos, Cilicia, AE 11, 12, c. 375-360 B.C. O: river god Pyramos or Triptolemos right, R: Medusa with snakes around head. Sear Greek 5572.

Soloi Pompeionpolis, Cilicia, AE 25, c. 2nd century B.C. O: Medusa with wings, R: Aphrodite on bull galloping right. SNG von Aulock 5875.

Kelenderis, Cilicia, AE 11, c. 2nd century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue inside mouth, R: goat right, head reverted. SNG Levante 31.

Seleukos I AE 18-21, Antioch, c. 312-280 B.C. O: winged head of a tame-looking Medusa right with tongue inside mouth and snakes in hair (sometimes described as Medusa with features of Alexander the Great), R: bull right. Sear Greek 6852. Also smaller sizes.

Arados, Phoenicia, diobol, c. 2nd-1st century B.C. O: Medusa with tongue inside mouth, R: apluster (boat ornament). Sear Greek 5995.

Samaria obol, c. 375-333 B.C. Medusa with tame hair and tongue protruding, R: horse head right. Meshorer & Qedar 150.

Roman Era Coins

Medusa typically appears smaller or less ferociously on Roman Republic, Imperial, and Provincial coins. Many of the designs are copied from their Greek predecessors (as happened often with Roman coins in general and with much Roman culture, mythology, and technology).

On Roman coins Medusa appears most frequently on a shield, breastplate, or shoulder, typically the emperor's, indicating he was protected by the gods. But as with Greek coins, I'm including here only those Roman types that depict a dramatic Medusa -- filling the coin's flan or as a disembodied head carried by Perseus.

Here are the major stylistic types:

L. Cossutius Sabula denarius, c. 72 B.C. O: tame-looking winged head of Medusa left, R: Bellerophon riding Pegasus right. Sear Millennium Edition 331.

L. Plautius Plancus denarius (common), c. 47 B.C. O: Medusa smiling, R: Aurora or Victory conducting the four horses of the sun. Sear Millennium Edition 429.

Claudius AE 19, Claudiconium/Iconium, Galatia, c. 41-54 A.D. O: Annius Afrinus right, R: Perseus holding head of Medusa. Sear Greek Imperial 5152.

Caracalla denarius (rare), Rome, c. 207 A.D. O: Caracalla right, R: Medusa with wings, long hair, and forlorn expression. Sear Millennium Edition 6878. Similar coins of Septimius Severus.

Maximinus I bronze, Anemorion, Cilicia, c. 235-238 A.D., O: Maximinus I right, R: Perseus carrying head of Medusa in his left hand. SNG Delepierre 710.

Philip I bronze, Thrace, c. 244-249 A.D. O: Gordian III right, R: Perseus standing left holding harpa (sickle) and Medusa's head with left hand using right hand to help Andromeda off rocks, dead sea monster at feet. Youroukova 445. Similar coins of Gordian III.

Trajan Decius AE 34, 35, Tarsus, Cilicia, c. 249-251 A.D. O: Trajan Decius right, R: Perseus holding Medusa's head, Demeter, other male figure, bull. SNG Levante 1165.

Gallienus aes, Eikonion, Lycaonia, c. 253-268 A.D. O: Gallienus right, R: Perseus carrying Medusa's head in right hand. BMC 15.

Victorinus aureus (rare), c. 268-270 A.D. O: Victorinus, R: Medusa with closed mouth and snake hair. RIC 99.

Celtic Coins

Massalia, Gaul, hemiobol, c. 485-470 B.C. O: Medusa with tongue protruding and big ears, R: incuse square. Rosen 4, 5.

Celtic drachm. O: Medusa, R: curvilinear horse left. OTA Taf. 18, 225.

Medusa Web Sites

Medusa 1 on Greek Mythology Link - https://www.forumancientcoins.com/cparada/GML/Medusa1.html

Selected Bibliography

The Medusa Reader. Edited by Marjorie Garber and Nancy J. Vickers. Routledge.2001.

Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon. Stephen R. Wilk. Oxford University Press. 2000.

Pandora: Women in Classical Greece. Edited by Ellen D. Reeder. Walters Art Gallery and Princeton University Press. 1995.

Sewing the Body: Psychoanalysis and Ancient Representations of Women. Page DuBois. University of Chicago Press. 1988.

The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. Barbara G. Walker. Harper and Rowe. 1983.

All coins are guaranteed for eternity