Tetradrachm: Head of Athena (obverse); Owl (reverse)

449–440 BC

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

Incorporating the first three letters of the city name—ΑΘΕ—with then-iconic images of the patron goddess Athena and her owl, the Athenian tetradrachm was among the most widely traded and most recognizable coins of the ancient world. The olive leaves on Athena’s helmet and the small crescent moon behind the owl date this coin after the Persian Wars.

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  • Title: Tetradrachm: Head of Athena (obverse); Owl (reverse)
  • Date Created: 449–440 BC
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 2.3 cm (7/8 in.)
  • Provenance: Dr. Jacob Hirsch, New York, NY, gifted to the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Coins
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1941.296
  • Medium: silver
  • Inscriptions: ΑΘΕ
  • Fun Fact: The images of Athena and her owl unmistakably identify this coin as Athenian.
  • Department: Greek and Roman Art
  • Culture: Greek, minted at Athens (Attica)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Jacob Hirsch
  • Collection: GR - Greek
  • Accession Number: 1941.296

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