BITHYNIA. Heraclaea Pontica. Pseudo-autonomous issue.
Hexassarion (Orichalcum, 35 mm, 22.80 g, 7 h), time of Gordian III, 238-244. ΤΟΝ ΚΤΙϹΤΑΝ Diademed heroic half-length bust of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin tied around his neck, with the lion's head protruding from his left shoulder, and holding club in his right hand. Rev.
ΗΡΑΚΛΕΩΤΑΝ ΜΑΤΡΟϹ ΑΠΟΙΚΩΝ ΠΟΛ/ΙΩΝ Zeus (or the Demos?) seated left, holding patera in his right hand and scepter in his left; at feet, two small figures standing facing. Dalaison, Héraclée, 7. Martin, Demos, p. 10 and Herakleia Pontike, 2. RPC VII.2 2099.2 (this coin
). Extremely rare, by far the finest of just three known examples. A spectacular, large piece, with a wonderful olive green patina and a Herakles of particularly brute style. Very minor smoothing, otherwise,
Ex Triton II, 1-2 December 1998, 626 and Gorny & Mosch 89, 5 June 1998, 312.
This wonderful piece shows Herakles on the obverse as the eponymous founder ('ΤΟΝ ΚΤΙCΤΑΝ') of Heraclaea Pontica, whereas the reverse boasts of the city as a 'mother of colonies', referring to the various settlements founded by Heraclaeans along the coast of the Pontos Euxeinos (the Black Sea).