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The Naming of Europe

This is a Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachm of Caracalla, from Sidon with Europa on the reverse. Sidon is named for King Sidon son of Canaan, mentioned in Genesis 10.1-32 in the genealogy of Noah after the flood.

Europa, daughter of King Agenor of Tyre was abducted by Zeus, disguised as a bull, and taken to the shores of the continent which was named after her, Europa. The city of Sidon had a large template dedicated to Europa, built in Phoenician style, with two large columns in front.

Enlèvement d'Europe (The Abduction of Europa) by Nöel-Nicolas Coypel, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Sidon was a place of gardens, orchards, and parks. The Greek word paradeisos derives from a Persian word for a park and is the origin of our word Paradise.

Phoenicia, Sidon, Caracalla, AD 198-217, AR Tetradrachm, struck AD 215-217

Obv: AVT KAI ANTωNINOC CЄ, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right

Rev: ΔHMAPX ЄΞ VΠATOC T Δ, Eagle standing facing, head and tail left, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; between legs, Europa on bull, holding billowing veil, to right

Ref: Prieur 1357 (letter spacing different on this coin)

The letter spacing on this coin is not what is seen in Prieur, with the delta separated by the eagles wing. It is interesting to see the price history (2004-2021) for the 23 specimens of this type that are labeled as Prieur 1357 in ACSearch (other examples exist). Price X Year

The graph shows clearly some of the risk in thinking about rare ancient coins as an investment. There are many variables and prices don't always go up. Condition, new finds, which venue you purchase from can all be contributing factors. For more on coins and pricing - see Calculating the Price.


  • Michael and Karin Prieur (2000), "The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 253 Paperback – January 1, 2000", CNG

  • Mark, Sidon, 2009

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