OCTODRACHM OF BERENICE II, IN THE NAME OF ARSINOE II (246-221 B.C.) Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid

OCTODRACHM OF BERENICE II, IN THE NAME OF ARSINOE II

(246-221 B.C.)
Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid

This impressive gold coin belongs to the issues minted in the name of Arsinoe II of Egypt, one of the most spectacular and famous series of Antiquity. However, the queen’s face belongs to another woman, Berenice II, wife of Ptolemy III. Berenice was not only the wife of Ptolemy III but a queen with actual power in Egypt, as was Arsinoe; the coins she issued are a relevant historical document on the public image of ruling women in Antiquity. The effigy with veil and tiara became the model for characterizing female rulers in the Mediterranean world; on the back, the double cornucopia tied with a royal diadem conveyed a message of wealth and life.