A rare tetradrachm from Methymna on Lesbos with the poet Arion on the reverse
Lot 207
KINGS OF MACEDON. Alexander III ‘the Great’, 336-323 BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 35 mm, 16.84 g, 12 h), Methymna on Lesbos, circa 215-200. Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress. Rev. AΛEΞANΔPOY Zeus seated left on low throne, holding long scepter in his left hand and eagle standing right with closed wings in his right; to left, the poet Arion riding a dolphin to right, holding kithara. Price 1691. Rare and unusually attractive, with a sharp and clear rendering of the poet Arion. Struck from a somewhat worn obverse die, otherwise, good very fine.

This rare tetradrachm from Methymna on Lesbos shows the city's most famous citizen, Arion, a late 7th and early 6th century poet and kitharode, riding a dolphin on the reverse. Herodotos (1.24) recounts the story that Arion earned a fortune by touring the rich cities in Sicily and southern Italy. As he sailed home, the sailors aboard his ship plotted to steal his fortune, offering him the choice of either committing suicide or being thrown into the sea. Arion asked them to grant him one final request, namely to play his kithara one last time. As he sang a song of praise to Apollo, a pod of dolphins approached the ship, and Arion threw himself into the sea, only to be rescued by one of the animals and being carried to the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Cape Tainaron at the southern tip of the Peloponnese. When the tyrant of Corinth, Periander, heard of the story, he erected a monument to the dolphin, and had the captured pirates executed there.
Starting price:
200 CHF
Hammer price:
2000 CHF
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Closing time: 24-Feb-24, 13:43:00 CET
All winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee.


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