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Description: AR Drachma 4th Century BCE. 5.57 gm. Obverse: Facing male heads, the left inverted Reverse: IΣTΡIH (Istros) Sea-eagle left, grasping dolphin with talons.
History: The faces on this coin have been variously interpreted as the Dioscuri, representing many dualities such as the rising and setting sun, positive and negative, and tragedy and comedy. It may also signify a geographical significance of the Danube Delta where the two branches of the river Danube meet, and as the reverse shows, where the wind meets the sea. The polarities expressed on this coin seem to suggest a unified balance within nature’s extremes.
According to historians, the dolphin clawing eagle ensign we see on the reverse - used like a coat of arms by Histria - was given to the Greek world by the city of Sinope (also a colony of Miletus).
This coin was minted in Northern Greece at Istros (also known as Histria) of Thrace, on the coastline of the Black Sea. Istros was the first Greek settlement in present day Romania. There was a large amount of silver coinage issued in the first half of the 4th Century BC, suggesting it was a place of commercial importance.