Larissa Drachm

Ready to Roll

During the early centuries of coinage, Greek cities adopted designs that could easily be attributed to that particular city. This could take the form of a city symbol, a favorite deity or some subject of local pride. In Thessaly the object of pride was the horse. Good horses were critical to the local way of life and all people were familiar with the ways of the horse.

Larissa, Thessaly - Silver drachm - 350-325 BC - 5.5g
Facing head of nymph Larissa / horse (Greek legend = Laris-aion)

Recent hoard finds have placed on the market large numbers of these Larissa drachms. The horse on the reverse is shown in a variety of postures. This week's Featured Coin shows the horse in a position I recently heard described at a local coin club as "strange". Another member of the club looked at the coin and commented that the pose was not "strange" but very natural. "It looks exactly like my horse when she is ready to roll over." Artistic depiction of animal movement has been the subject of intense study for centuries. Persons uninterested in the animals easily accept artificial looking "rockinghorse" poses but the horse loving people of Thessaly instantly would have recognized and appreciated the lifelike pose.

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(c) 1997 Doug Smith