A Vegetation Symbol on Coins from Cyrene
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A Vegetation Symbol on Coins from Cyrene
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Larisa Selivanova 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Focusing on Cyrenian coins with the image of silphium in the period from the sixth to the third century B.C. within the context of written sources, this article examines the imagery of that plant, its role in ancient medicine and cooking, its place in the economy of Cyrene, as well as the reasons for the disappearance of its visual imagery and its temporary revival in the twentieth century. The author suggests that the recovery of this long-forgotten symbol and its use by the Italian army in northern Africa during the Second World war reflected Italy’s claim to the territory of northern Africa and, also, the desire of Mussolini to raise the fighting spirit of his forces, whose morale was low because of costly defeats.
visual imagery, numismatics, heraldry, silphium, Cyrenaica, northern Africa, Italy, antiquity, modern history
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