The obverse design of this coin depicts a trope in classical mythology, a centaur carrying off a struggling young woman or nymph. Tales of centaurs attacking women can be found throughout the Greek mythological cannon; the most famous of these is that of the centaurs and the Lapiths, also known as the Centauromachy. In this myth the centaurs are invited to the wedding feast of King Pirithous of the Lapiths and his bride Hippodameia. The centaurs, who were unused to alcohol, became quickly drunk and one centaur, Eurytion, tried to abduct the bride when she was presented. At this, all the other centaurs began to assault the women and young boys at the wedding. This led to a battle between the Lapiths and the centaurs which has been depicted in many forms of classical art since, including the pediment of Temple of Apollo at Bassai.
The narrative of Herakles also includes an episode which further demonstrates centaurs’ brutality and wild nature, particularly towards women. Herakles attempts to cross the large river Evenus with his new wife Deianeira, a centaur by the name of Nessos offers to help them. He begins to carry Deianeira across the river, but half way across he tries to molest her. Herakles, incensed, fires a poison arrow at the centaur. Before he dies, the centaur persuades Herakles’ wife to take some of his blood as a love potion to use on Herakles in the future. Many years later, Deianeira, who was jealous of rumours about Herakles and Iole (daughter of Eurytos), puts the blood on his cloak in an attempt to win him back, however, after realising that she has poisoned her husband, she kills herself.
Bearded centaur galloping to right, carrying off a struggling woman or nymph clad in a light chiton; amphora in ex
Quadripartite incuse square
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