(39) Kyrene, Kyrenaica (Libya) - AV 1/10 stater, c. 331-323 B.C., 0.86 g. (inv. 91.103).
Obverse: Head of Zeus Ammon l.
Reverse: Head of Kyrene r., wearing single-pendant earring and necklace; monogram in l. field.
Provenance: Abner Kreisberg, 1972.
Bibliography: C.M. Kraay, Archaic and Classical Greek Coins (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1976) 296-297; B.V. Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford 1911) 864-871.

In the winter of 332/31 B.C., the Kyrenaians entered into an alliance with Alexander the Great, and from that time until it was acquired by Ptolemaic Egypt the city of Kyrene issued a series of gold staters and smaller denominations, including this tenth of a stater with the head of Zeus Ammon on the obverse and a female head, perhaps the nymph Kyrene, on the reverse.

Ammon was the chief imperial god of ancient Egypt, who became known to the Greeks through their colonization of Kyrene and identified with their chief god Zeus. His was the most important cult in Kyrene, where a Hellenized version of him was worshipped as Zeus Ammon. In Greek cities he was usually depicted as a Zeus-like figure but with the ram's horns of the Egyptian Ammon added. Kyrene was a nymph admired by Apollo for wrestling a lion. He carried her off to Libya, where the city of Kyrene was named for her.


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