Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 96   |   6 October 2016 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 1010

Estimate: 25'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 20'000 CHF Price realized: 26'000 CHF
Greek Coins
Bruttium, Caulonia. Nomos circa 525-500 BC, AR 8.07 g.
Description KAVL Apollo, diademed, walking r., holding laurel branch in upraised r. hand and small running daimon who holds long branch on outstretched l. arm; in r. field, stag r. on platform, with head reverted. Rev. The same type partially incuse l. without legend. References
Noe Caulonia, Group A2e (this coin)
Locker-Lampson 43 (this coin)
SNG Lloyd 572 (these dies)
SNG ANS 141 (these dies)
Historia Numorum Italy 2035 (these dies) Condition
Well struck and centred on fresh metal in high relief and with a wonderful old cabinet tone. Unobtrusive die-break on obverse field, otherwise good extremely fine Provenance
NAC sale 25, 2003, 38
Stack’s sale 14 January 2008, Lawrence R. Stack collection, 2039
Hess-Divo sale 326, 2014, 13
The Locker-Lampson collection
The origins of Caulonia are relatively obscure. It is usually described as a foundation of Croton, yet it may have been an independent city since its citizens preserved the name of its oecist (founder), Typhon of Aigion. Its residents, which numbered perhaps 10,000 at its height, were industrious despite having control over a relatively small territory. Their defensive walls were as much as 18 feet thick in some areas, and were unique in southern Italy as they were constructed mostly of loose river stones that had been cemented together. Though Caulonia was the last of the Achaean colonies on the Ionian coast to strike coins, production
must have begun fairly soon after the city achieved some level of prosperity, as few archaeological
remains at the site pre-date the middle of the 6th Century B.C. Robinson suggests that the high output
at this relatively unimportant city might be explained by the lack of early coinage at its wealthier
neighbour Locris. The design of the early nomoi of Caulonia has attractedvarious interpretations, many
of which were reviewed by Barclay Head. He saw the main figure as the mythical founder of Caulonia,
who held a leaf from the plant καυλóς as a punning allusion to the city name. Most scholars of the
modern era prefer to see the figure as Apollo. The running figure in his hand – whose feet are winged
on some examples – may be a wind god, perhaps Zephyrus, but he is almost always described as a
genius or a daimon, a deity of a lower order which served the higher gods. Perhaps the most attractive
explanation for the design is that the figure, Apollo, holds a laurel branch from the Vale of Tempe in
Thessaly, and that the small figure is a daimon fulfilling the role of his messenger. If so, it would
illustrate the story of how Apollo, after killing the serpent Pytho at Delphi, exiled himself for seven
years of menial labour as penance for his murder; at the end of this period Apollo purified himself in
the sacred grove of bay-trees. Specifically, the type would represent his return to Delphi, announced
by the daimon-messenger, where he assumed his oracular duties on behalf of Zeus. It is unfortunate
that the stag defies explanation since it is an integral part of the design on the earliest coins, and it
subsequently became the standard reverse type.

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