ARCADIA. Mantinea. Antinoüs, died 130. Medallion (Bronze, 39 mm, 40.82 g, 1 h), Veturios, late 131 or early 132. BЄTOYPIOC Bare-headed, heroic nude three-quarter bust of Antinoüs to left. Rev. TOIC APKACI Horse walking right. BCD 1498 (same dies). Blum -, cf. 7 (smaller denomination). KAIPOΣ, p. 302-303. Pudill p. 34-37. Extremely rare and very probably the finest known. A bold and impressive medallion of the finest style and with an exceptionally beautiful, almost sculptural portrait of Antinoüs. The obverse with the usual die break and the reverse somewhat weakly struck and with smoothed surfaces, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
From a European collection, formed before 2005.
The Mantinean coinage in the name of Antinoüs was financed by an otherwise unattested Veturios, whose name appears alongside with the hero's image on the obverses, whereas the reverses specify 'the Arkadians' as the recipients of the benefaction. Pausanias tells us that 'Antinoüs was by birth from Bithynium beyond the river Sangarius, and the Bithynians are by descent Arcadians of Mantinea' (Paus. 8.9.7). This explains the ostentatious worship of the hero by this polis, which had changed its name from Antigonea back to Mantinea during Hadrian's visit in 125 and thus also had a personal relationship with the grieving emperor. The Mantineans dedicated a new temple to Antinoüs, which Pausanias saw at first hand and whose high priest Veturios has been suspected to have been. We don't know anything about Veturios, however, who could have been any sort of local benefactor financing a coin emission as a form of euergetism to his hometown. The Mantinean coins honoring Antinoüs were, as H.-C. von Mosch and L.-A. Klostermeyer have recently shown, likely struck on the occasion of Hadrian's visit to the region in late 131 or early 132, and their dies were almost certainly crafted by the same brilliant 'imperial' artist who was responsible for many of the other Antinoüs medallions struck along the emperor's route. Our piece is not only the largest in the Mantinean commemorative series, which included five 'denominations' struck in two separate groups with right- and left-facing busts each, but it is also most probably the finest known. The exceptionally artistic rendering of Antinoüs and the sheer size of the medallion give his portrait a sculptural appearance that truly is a joy to behold.