BITHYNIA. Prusias ad Hypium. Macrinus, 217-218. Hexassarion (Orichalcum, 34 mm, 21.46 g, 7 h). AY•T•K M OΠЄΛ CЄOYHP MAKPINOC AYC (sic!) Laureate and cuirassed bust of Macrinus to right. Rev. ΠPOYCIЄON (sic!) ΠPO/C YΠIΩ Herakles, wearing lion's skin, advancing right, carrying Erymanthian Boar over his left shoulder, presenting it to small figure of Eurystheus, who raises his hands in terror. BMC -. RG -. SNG Copenhagen -. SNG Glasgow -. SNG Leypold -. SNG Righetti -. SNG von Aulock -. Winterthur -. Apparently unpublished and unique, and with a beautiful rendering of the Fourth Labor of Herakles. Slightly rough, otherwise, about extremely fine.
The emergence of this beautiful coin now confirms beyond a doubt the existence of an issue struck under Macrinus in Prusias ad Hypium showing the Labors of Herakles. Only three examples have survived: the first was the von Aulock piece (SNG von Aulock 903), which showed Herakles chasing the Amazon queen Hippolyta, while a second, with Herakles fighting the giant Antaios, appeared in Naville E-Auction 17 (2015), 257. Our wonderful example, on the other hand, shows Herakles' Fourth Labor, the capture of the Erymanthian Boar, whom the hero carries on his shoulders and presents to the frightened King Eurystheus. The fact that only three of the presumably twelve reverse types are so far attested - all of them in a single example only - means that the initial output of the series must have been very limited. It is worth noting, however, that a similar series appeared somewhat later under Maximinus I, when the city struck the Hippolyta and Antaios types for Maximus Caesar: perhaps this issue, too, was actually broader and included other Labors of Herakles, which are yet to turn up?