The emblem of the ancient city of Metapontum was the ear of barley. It was depicted on all the city's coins. It stood for the copiousness of Metapontum's farmland, and for the cult of Demeter, the goddess of the fertility of the land.
Unlike many of the other Greek cities of southern Italy and Sicily, Metapontum's prosperity derived from arable farming on the especially fruitful volcanic plains of the city's hinterland. This is supposedly also the meaning of the bull's head on the reverse of the coin.