Drachm, 356-342 BC. Thessalia, Larissa.




Nice facing portrait of the nymph Larissa



Greek. Thessalia, Larissa. Drachm, 356-342 BC.
Obverse: Head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly to the left, wearing an ampyx and a necklace.
Horse standing right, preparing to lie down.
Dimensions: AR, 5.95 g, 19 mm, 10h.
References: BCD Thessaly 1154;
Lorber 34 var.;
SNG Cop. 121.
Condition: Obverse slightly off center, light toning. Very fine.
Provenance: From a private German collection, established in the 1990s,
Ex Gorny & Mosch 92 (1998), 151.
Comment: Larissa was one of the biggest and the leading city of Thessaly. It was named after the nymph Larissa that is depicted on this coin. The city began minting coins in early 5th century BC. and used the Persian standard but changed to the Aeginetic standard, in which our coin is minted. In 352 BC the city fall under control of Philip II king of Macedon. This coin was probably minted to finance his military operations. The portrait of Larissa was minted on coins from the beginning of the 5th until the 3rd quarter of the 4th century BC. when the mint was closed by the Macedonians. The horse already appears on the earlier coins of the city, the region was renowned for their cavalry.

The facing female portraits became famous especially in the 4th century BC. The master-engraver Kimon was the first one who engraved a facing portrait of Arethusa Soteira on the coins of Syracuse. This inspired many cities to copy the motif and used it for their local deities. Besides Larissa Amphipolis, Rhodes and Tarsus are well-known for their facing portraits, but none of them reached the magnificent quality, style and details of Kimon’s coins.

Additional information


AR (silver)


5.95 g


19 mm

Die axis

10 h