American Univesity of Beirut

Europa, a Phoenician princess

​​​​In Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess, the daughter of the Phoenician King of Sidon Agenor and his wife Telephassa. One day, while Europa was relaxing with her companions by the seashore, Zeus (the king of Gods), was captured by her beauty and fell in love with her.

He transformed himself into a white beautiful bull and approached her.  Europa got attracted by him and climbed on his back. Zeus ran immediately to the sea and carried her all the way from Phoenicia to the island of Crete. There he revealed his true identity and Europa became the queen of Crete.​

The story of Europa has been depicted on many ancient ceramics and coins. It inspired worldwide artists throughout the ages.

 The AUB Archaeological Museum holds within its collections several coins representing the legend such as a bronze coin (Inv.# C1136, AD 218 - 222) from Sidon, which featuring Europa seated, to the front right, on a bull, holding its horn with the left hand, and her veil with the right hand.

Around the field: A   P, and below:  SIDCO 

 The obverse features the bust of Elagabalus with laureate, wearing a paludamentum and a cuirass. And on the field: IMPCMAAN

 Stay tuned to discover more stories featured on the coins collection at the AUB Museum!

Europa riding the bull (reverse)              Bust of Elagabalus (obverse)

Inv. # C1136
AD 218 - 222
Diameter: 2.4 cms.
Weight: 8.45 gms.


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