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Rhodes, Drachm

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Rhodes, Drachm (obverse) Rhodes, Drachm (reverse)

Greek legend has it that the sun god Helios claimed the island of Rhode, which he had seen on his travels scross the sky, as a pied--terre. Godfather Zeus agreed, and Helios took his island over along with Rhode, a nymph who lived there. The couple married and produced seven children.

Consistent with the founding legend, the first coins of Rhode, issued at the beginning of the 5th century BC, bore the head of Helios on the obverse and a rose on the reverse. This was, on the one hand, a pun on the island's name, for "rhodon" means "rose." On the other hand, however, the rose was a direct reference to daily life on Rhodes where so many flowers grew that sailors said they could smell them far off the coast. These motifs were kept until the town ceased minting silver in the middle of the first century BC.

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