North Africa, Cyrenaica, Cyrene, Didrachm

The obverse of this didrachm from Cyrene shows the city god Apollo. The reverse depicts Silphion, a plant whose stem and roots delivered a resinous sap that was considered a medical and cosmetic panacea in Ancient Times. Silphion was the main export article of Cyrene. It grew wild on unfertilized soil and was unfortunately not cultivable. This resulted in the extinction of the plant by overuse during the last century BC.