Mythology mania continues with the Amazons, the Mint of Poland’s latest impressive issue

Despite the growing numbers of ancient mythologically themed coins emanating from the Mint of Poland, we still inevitably look forward to the next one. The sprightly release schedule means you don’t have to wait too long and the latest is this new Pela Coins distributed release depicting the Amazons of legend (or Wonder Woman, depending on your age…).

Sorry to be boring, but the Mint of Poland has pulled yet another stunning design out of its hat. Called Woman Warrior: Amazons, this one has a very similar artistic style to the recent Artemis release, and incorporates the signature selective gilding, in this case the lead Amazon’s sword, as well as a wood inlaid shield, similar to that on the superb Trojan Horse issue from a couple of years ago.

All the usual format regulars are present. Two ounces of silver, rimless, ultra-high-relief, antiqued and issued for Niue. A gorgeous design with three warriors in a vaguely Greek/Roman style of dress, but one that has taken a few liberties with the base mythology. The castle in the background is from a different and much later period, perhaps hinting more at the enduring Amazonian legacy, rather than the fascinating and nebulous reality of their roots in the ancient Scythian civilisation. Whatever the case, as a piece of numismatic art, it’s visually arresting.

The obverse has some subtle customisation from the base effigy/inscription layout, but nothing as fundamental as we’ve seen elsewhere in different series. There appear to be hints towards the back of the shield the lead Amazon warrior is carrying. Obviously, the coin will come in a box with a certificate of authenticity, and the mintage has been set at 555 pieces. We seem to say this every time, but for us, this is yet another entrant into a genre that has few equals in modern numismatics. Available to order shortly, it should ship around the end of September. Fans of the type will want to check out our Thematic Guide to the issues of this mint.

THE AMAZONS

In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a tribe of warrior women related to the Scythians and Sarmatians, both of whom are considered Iranian peoples. Apollonius Rhodius, in his Argonautica, mentions that the Amazons were the daughters of Ares and Harmonia (a nymph of the Akmonian Wood), that they were brutal and aggressive, and their main concern in life was war. Lysias, Isocrates, Philostratus the Elder also say that their father was Ares.

Herodotus and Strabo place them on the banks of the Thermodon River. According to Diodorus, giving the account of Dionysius of Mitylene (who in turn drew on Thymoetas), the Amazons inhabited Ancient Libya long before they settled along the Thermodon. Migrating from Libya, these Amazons passed through Egypt and Syria, and stopped at the Caïcus in Aeolis, near which they founded several cities. Later, Diodorus maintains, they established Mytilene a little way beyond the Caïcus. Aeschylus, in Prometheus Bound, places the original home of the Amazons in the country about Lake Maeotis, and from which they moved to Themiscyra on the Thermodon. Homer tells that the Amazons were sought and found somewhere near Lycia.

Notable queens of the Amazons are Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan War, and her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle, given to her by her father Ares, was the object of one of the labours of Heracles. Diodorus mentions that the Amazons traveled from Libya under Queen Myrina. Amazon warriors were often depicted in battle with Greek warriors in amazonomachies in classical art.

Archaeological discoveries of burial sites with female warriors on the Eurasian Steppes suggest that the Scythian women may have inspired the Amazon myth. From the early modern period, their name has become a term for female warriors in general. Amazons were said to have founded the cities and temples of Smyrna, Sinope, Cyme, Gryne, Ephesus, Pitania, Magnesia, Clete, Pygela, Latoreria and Amastris; according to legend, the Amazons also invented the cavalry.

Palaephatus, who was trying to rationalize the Greek myths in his On Unbelievable Tales, wrote that the Amazons were probably men who were mistaken for women by their enemies because they wore clothing which reached their feet, tied up their hair in headbands and shaved their beards, and in addition, because they did not exist during his time, most probably they did not exist in the past either. (Source: Wikipedia)

https://www.mdm.de/
SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $5 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIMENSIONS 45.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ultra High-relief, gilding, wood inlay
MINTAGE 555
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes