The hemidrachm from Parion has an unusual design: a staring female face with tongue protuding, surrounded by snakes. The reverse shows a bull standing left and looking back.
The greek letters ?? appears above the bull and ?? is between the legs of the bull.
We know these coins come from Parion because of the legend: ????, the Greek letters for PARI. The face is the "gorgoneion," a mask in imitation of the head of the
gorgon. In archaic and classical Greek art gorgons were always shown facing the viewer, protruding tongue, and teeth. Very early ones were sometimes depicted with beards, but
never on coins. In Greek mythology there were three gorgon sisters. The most famous was Medusa who was decapited by the hero Perseus. The hair of gorgons was never depicted as
living snakes in ancient times. The snakes, if any, were shown near or later sometimes in the hair. Sometimes the gorgon head had wings, but never on the coins of Parion.
It isn't clear why Parion chose a hideous monster as an emblem for the city. Perhaps it was chosen as a symbol of terror. It was used on Greek shields to frighten the enemy
as well as for it's hypnotic ability--something about the gorgoneion attracts gaze of enemy soldiers toward the shield and thus away from the weapon hand. Could the gorgon
head on Parion's coins represent military shields and ability of Parion's military?