These dynamic coins emblazoned with a dramatic, stylised head of a roaring lion were minted by the ancient city of Miletos.
Miletos was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, with a history believed to date back as far as the Neolithic period. It was prominent, prosperous, and regarded as one the greatest and wealthiest of the Greek cities during the Archaic period.
During the 6th century BC Miletos became one of the first cities to mint coinage before coming under Persian rule. The diobol or hemihekte of Miletos was one of the most popular currencies of western Anatolia during this early period.
The lion was the civic symbol of the city. The reverse of this type of coin is mysterious and has been described by scholars in a multitude of ways: ornamented star, floral star, rosette, floral design. One of the most convincing descriptions is as a sun symbol, and a reference to the god Apollo, the patron god of Miletos.