A wonderful rendering of Herakliskos Drakonopnigon
BRUTTIUM. Kroton. Circa 350-300 BC. Didrachm or Nomos (Silver, 20 mm, 7.74 g, 3 h). ΚΡΟΤΟΝΙΑ-ΤΑΣ Laureate head of Apollo with long hair to right. Rev. Herakliskos Drakonopnigon: the infant Herakles, nude, crouching facing on rocky floor, his head turned to left, strangling a serpent in each hand. Dewing 513. HN Italy 2157. SNG ANS 385 (same dies). A superb, very well centered and exceptional example of great beauty. Good extremely fine.

From the Kleinkunst Collection, Leu 6, 23 October 2020, 47 and ex Numismatica Ars Classica 8, 3 April 1995, 96.

The reverse of this magnificent issue shows the earliest miraculous deed of Herakles. As the offspring of one of the many extramarital affairs of Zeus (in this case, with Alkmene), Herakles and his brother, Iphikles, aroused blazing hatred from their stepmother, Hera, who tried to murder the twins by placing two serpents in their bed when they were eight months old. However, Hera had previously unwittingly nursed Herakles as an unrecognized foundling, and the young hero had therefore received her supernatural powers, allowing him to strangle both serpents with his bare hands. It has been suggested that the appearance of Herakliskos Drakonopnigon ('the serpent-strangler') on the didrachms of Kroton may refer to Kroton's struggle against Dionysios I of Syracuse, who occupied the city from 388-376 BC, but the coins are likely somewhat later and the iconography is perhaps rather connected to the clashes of the Greek cities with the native Bruttian and Lucanian mountain tribes.
Price: 25,000 CHF


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