The extremely rare ninth labor of Herakles
Lot 1050
EGYPT. Alexandria. Antoninus Pius, 138-161. Drachm (Bronze, 34 mm, 28.62 g, 1 h), RY 6 = 141/2. [AΥT K T AIΛ AΔP ANTωNINOC ЄΥCЄB] Laureate head of Antoninus Pius to right. Rev. [L] - ς Herakles standing right, nude apart from lion-skin hanging over his left shoulder, holding club over his left shoulder and pulling girdle with his right hand from Hippolyte lying to right on fallen horse to left. Dattari (Savio) Suppl. pl. 16, 63. Emmett 1540.5. K&G -. RPC IV online 15336. Extremely rare and with a fascinating mythological reverse type. Fine.


From the Rhakotis Collection, formed in the 1960s and 1970s (with collector's ticket).

For his ninth labor, Herakles was ordered by Eurystheus to obtain the girdle of the Amazon queen Hippolyte for Eurystheus’ daughter, Admete. This was no easy task - the Amazons were fearsome warriors who lived independently from men and devoted their lives to warfare. Hippolyte herself was a daughter of Ares, and the girdle was a gift from the latter, so the odds were slim she would part with it willingly. However, when Herakles arrived at the Amazons’ abode by the river Thermodon in Asia Minor, it appears Hippolyte was so impressed with him that she was prepared to give up girdle without a fight. According to Pseudo-Apollodoros (Bibliotheca 2.5.9), Hera quickly intervened by disguising herself as an Amazon, and rousing the other Amazons to war by claiming Herakles was going to abduct their queen. In the ensuing battle, Hippolyte was slain by the Greek hero, who stripped her of her girdle, thus completing his labor. The Amazonomachy would become a popular motif in Greek art. For instance, one of the friezes from the Mausoleum in Halikarnassos shows Herakles ready to strike down an Amazon, most likely their queen Hippolyte.
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Closing time: 15-Aug-20, 22:44:30 CEST
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