Ionia, Magnesia on the Maeander, Tetradrachm

The city of Magnesia on the Maeander, in the west of modern Turkey, was founded following a prophecy of Apollo. This coin shows the god on the reverse leaning against a tripod, the symbol of his prophecy.

The obverse shows Apollo’s sister Artemis, the city goddess of Magnesia. Like Apollo, Artemis combined traits that seem to be contradictory at first sight. She was the inapproachable virgin, the great huntress and the goddess of death – but also the helper in childbirth, the mistress of animals, the mother goddess giving and taking life, and in the most general senses the great healer and savior. Artemis thus ultimately embodied the creative and destroying forces of nature.