LUCANIA. Herakleia. Circa 390-340 BC. Didrachm or Nomos (Silver, 22 mm, 7.63 g, 11 h). Head of Athena facing three-quarters to right, wearing triple-crested Phrygian helmet and necklace, and with her hair flowing loose. Rev. ՒHPAKΛH[IΩN] Herakles, nude, standing facing in fighting position, wielding club in his right hand, about to strike the Nemean lion, which he holds by the mane with his left hand. Basel 107 ( this coin ). Dewing 341 = Van Keuren 22 ( same dies ). HN Italy 1375. Holloway, Art, 17, 2 and p. 131 ( this coin ). Very rare and among the finest known. A magnificent example of this prestigious issue, boldly struck in high relief and of the very finest late Classical style. The reverse struck slightly off center, otherwise, about extremely fine.
From the Kleinkunst Collection and from the collection of A. D. Moretti, Numismatica Ars Classica 13, 8 October 1998, 107.
Herakleia was founded in 433/2 BC by Tarentum and Thourioi as the last Greek apoikia in southern Italy (Diod. 12.36.4). The city adapted the Tarentine cult of Herakles, after whom it was named (Strab. 6.1.14), and gained prominence in the 4th century as the seat of the Italiote League, an alliance of Greek cities against the native Bruttians and Lucanians. Herakleia issued an extensive series of didrachms (or nomoi), almost all of which show the head of Athena in profile on the obverse and the eponymous hero Herakles strangling the Nemean lion on the reverse. The present coin, however, is part of a very rare emission showing Athena facing slightly to the right - an obvious adaption of Eukleidas' famous facing Athena from Syracuse - whereas the rendering of Herakles on the reverse, who is standing facing and contrapposto in dramatic motion, is reminiscent of the wonderful Hermes-staters from Pheneos (BCD Peloponnesos 1615-1617). It is regrettable that we do now know the name of the artist who crafted these beautiful dies, but they are undoubtedly among the finest ever produced in southern Italy.
|Price realized||22'000 CHF|
|Starting price||8'000 CHF|