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Lesbos, Mytilene, Hecte

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Lesbos, Mytilene, Hecte (obverse) Lesbos, Mytilene, Hecte (reverse)

Mytilene was one of the mints that struck electrum coins for a very long time. This hecte from Mytilene, minted around 500 BC, is made of electrum. The coin represents two animals, a roaring lion and a calf's head.

The calf was the emblem of the city of Mytilene. Hence, the lion on the obverse can not be understood as another symbol of the city, but as a divine feature. He was the companion of several gods, like Kybele, Dionysos and Apollon. Since Apollon was Mytilene's main god, the lion on the coin may well be understood as a substitute for Apollon all the more so as Apollon's bust replaced the lion's head on coins minted later.

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