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Exhibition “Athenian Owls”

Exhibits “Athenian Owls”
Exhibits “Athenian Owls”
Exhibits “Athenian Owls”
Exhibits “Athenian Owls”

The exhibition “Athenian Owls” presents the history of silver coinage in ancient Athens. It is a tribute to the Athenian tetradrachm, the owl, the best-known coin of antiquity. The numismatic journey starts with the first coins minted around mid-6th century BCE and goes all the way to the euro.

The Athenian owl

The exhibition is a tribute to the best-known coin of the Antiquity, the tetradrachm of the city of Athens with the head of the goddess Athena on the obverse and the owl on the reverse. This coin spread well beyond the Athenian borders and was widely used in international transactions for a long time.

The exhibition is structured in 5 chronological sections:

  1. The first Athenian coins, called heraldic. This designation is attributed to the variety of iconographic types. The German term “Wappenmünzen” is mostly used in relevant studies.
  2. The fabulous Athenian tetradrachms, the Athenian owls. The most powerful coinage of the time when the navy of the Delian League dominated the Mediterranean. The exhibition presents the first coins of the end of the 6th century BCE, followed by the coins minted during the Golden Age of Pericles.
  3. The tetradrachms with wreaths or new-style tetradrachms of the 2nd century BCE. These Athenian tetradrachms followed the trend of the time. On the reverse, the whole image is surrounded by an olive wreath.
  4. The Athenian imitations. Coins that circulated mainly during the 4th century BCE by Persian satraps and in faraway lands, such as Bactria, today’s Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine and Phoenicia.
  5. The coins of modern Greece, up to the 1-euro coin, which retain elements of the famous Athenian owl.

The exhibits

The exhibition showcases 22 ancient coins, 6 coins of the modern Greek State and 1 sheet of 20-cent stamps depicting the Athenian owl.

The exhibits come from the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection.

The scientific team

Exhibition curator: Dr Dimitra Tsangari, numismatist and curator of the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection.

The contributors

Artistic and architectural design: Stamatis Zannos.

Guided tours

Guided tours for the general public are also available. Visitors get the chance to learn about silver coinage in ancient Athens and the historical context surrounding the exhibits.

Exhibition catalogue

The exhibition is accompanied by the scientific catalogue Athenian Owls, edited by Dr Dimitra Tsangari. The publication has a wealth of photographic material and is available in Greek and English.

Buy the publication Athenian Owls on the Alpha Bank e-shop.