Ares, the god of war, headlines the eighth tranche of coins in Mint XXI’S ambitious look at Greek mythology in silver

Another three coins join Mint XXI’s impressive Greek Mythology series of silver coins. These are the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th issues to date, and the series will conclude when all 36 have been issued, ending next year. For those unaware, these are silver coins, but coming in a mix of three sizes – 1oz, 2oz, and 3oz. For this eighth tranche, we have a pair of two-ounce coins, and a solitary one-ounce.

Ares has always been a popular choice in this genre, and he gets a particularly impressive two-ounce release, joined by a coin depicting a pair of characters from the old Hellenic myths, Jason and Medea, of the Argonauts fame. The smallest of this trio features the Sphinx, and different creature from the more widely known Egyptian version. We’re not going to ramble on here, so if you want a better look at the series as a whole, check out our comprehensive Coin Series Profile of the range to date, where you can see all the issues to date, split into the three weights for easy reference. A terrific range.

ARES (2 oz)

One of the Twelve Olympians, Ares is the Greek god of war, and the son of Zeus and Hera. He had a reputation for savagery, being more the embodiment of physical courage, rather than tactical acumen, which was more a talent his sister Athena possessed. He was on the side of Troy in the Trojan War, losing to Athena.

Despite his prominence in modern cultural telling, he doesn’t have that deep a backstory as many of the other deities of the period, almost being quite one-dimensional in character. His Roman counterpart, Mars, was much more widely admired and worshipped.

JASON & MEDEA (2 oz)

The legend of Jason and the Argonauts is one of the most well-known in Greek lore, and part of the tale involves the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis, Medea. She had aided Jason on his quest to find the Golden Fleece, and they married. As is typical in the old myths, there wasn’t a happy ending!

She was said to be a sorceress, and used her magic to save Jason’s life, even killing her own brother in the process. After a decade of marriage, Jason dumped her for Creusa, the daughter of the Creon, the king of Corinth. King Creon exiles her, and she ends up in Athens. In revenge, she murders Creusa, and her own sons, so that Jason has no heir. Makes Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction look like an amateur…


Obviously, the biggest and most famous Sphinx of all time sits on the Giza Plateau in Egypt, beside the Great Pyramid, but it’s less well known that it was also a creature in the old Greek myths as well. Indeed, it has appeared in modern popular media as a creature famed for its riddles.

In Greek form, it was said to guard the entrance to Thebes, one of the great Greek city states, tasking travellers with a riddle they had to solve to be allowed passage. Oedipus solved the riddle, and the Sphinx threw herself from a cliff and died. There are other variants of the myth, but that’s a common issue with describing characters in any of the old pantheons.

The Greek Sphinx had a woman’s face, the body of a lion, and birds wings. She was the emblem of Chios, another city state in Greece, and was often seen on the obverse of coins issued between the 6th century BCE, and the third century CE.

DENOMINATION 1,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon) 2,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon) 3,000 Francs CFA (Cameroon)
COMPOSITION 31.1 grams of 0.999 silver 62.2 grams of 0.999 silver 93.3 grams of 0.999 silver
DIMENSIONS 32.0 mm 50.0 mm 55.0 mm
FINISH Antique Antique Antique
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, gilding High-relief, gilding High-relief, gilding
MINTAGE 500 500 333