Etruria, Populonia, 20 Asses


Etruria, Populonia, 20 Asses (obverse) Etruria, Populonia, 20 Asses (reverse)

This coin was minted in Populonia, an Etruscan port-town. The Etruscan cities had traded with the Greeks since the 8th century BC. The highly civilized Etruscans admired Greek culture: the Etruscan king Arimnestos (late 8th c. BC) is said to have been the first non-Greek endowing Olympia with a sacrifice. Hence it is not surprising to see the Greek Gorgon on an Etruscan coin.

Gorgon was a female monster of Greek mythology – a brute, whose mere sight would turn people into stone. Because for its ghastly sight, the Gorgon's head – the so-called gorgoneion – also had a protective measure: whoever caught a glimpse of it froze with terror.


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