Lesbos, Mytilene, Hecte

This hecte from the city of Mytilene on Lesbos Island bears a running goat with its head reverted on the obverse, while the reverse depicts a little owl with outstretched wings.

At the time when the coin was minted, Lesbos was a member of the Delian League, an union founded for the defense against the attacks of the Persian empire. Leader of the allies was the city of Athens. To finance the war against the Persians, all the allies had to pay proportional contributions to Athens, either in the form of war ships and armament, or as fees – which most members preferred. Hence it is probable that this coin was minted just for that purpose; the little owl leads to this assumption, since the owl was symbolic for the coins of Athens.