Eretria was the second city of the island of Euboea, the first being Chalcis. The cow scratching itself with its hoof on the obverse was symbolic of the cattle for which the island was famed. The octopus first appeared as a reverse type toward the end of the 6th century BC and may be regarded as the civic emblem of Eretria. Themistocles is credited with the saying of the Eretrians as “having an octopus where their heart should be.” Eretria assisted the Greek cities in the ‘Ionian Revolt’ against Persian rule in 499-494 BC, which led to revenge against the city by Darius in 490 BC.
Bull standing left, head right, its right hind hoof raised to touch its nose; on its back, a swallow stands left; retrograde E below
Octopus within shallow incuse square
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