BITHYNIA. Heraclaea Pontica. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Hexassarion (Bronze, 35 mm, 23.26 g, 7 h), time of Gordian III, 238-244. ΤΟΝ ΚΤΙCΤΑΝ Diademed bust of Herakles to left, wearing lion skin headdress around his neck and holding club over his right shoulder. Rev. ΗΡΑΚΛΗΑC ΜΑΤΡΟC ΑΠΟΙΚ[ΩΝ ΠΟΛΙΩΝ] Tyche seated left, holding patera in her right hand and corcucopiae in her left; to left, Pontos Euxeinos seated right, holding anchor in his left hand; to right, river god Lykos, seated left, holding staff in his right hand and leaning left on urn from which water flows. RG 77. RPC VII.2 2094. SNG Paris 265. Extremely rare. An impressive issue with a highly interesting reverse. Some roughness, otherwise, very fine.
From the collection of Peter Weiss, Gorny & Mosch 276, 19 April 2021, 337.
This wonderful piece shows Herakles on the obverse as the eponymous founder ('ΤΟΝ ΚΤΙCΤΑΝ') of Heraclaea Pontica. According the legend, an entrance to the Underworld was located near the polis, which the hero used to descend into Hades. The reverse, on the other hand, shows the city-goddess, identified by the legend as the mother of the actual colonists, who originally came from Megara. As Heraclaea was ideally situated at the mouth of the Lykos river near the Black Sea, both of these are personified on the reverse in a composition simultaneously celebrating the city's ancient foundation and its contemporary prosperity.