Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 97   |   12 December 2016 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 51

Estimate: 7'500 CHF   |   Starting price: 6'000 CHF Price realized: 16'500 CHF
The Roman Republic
Sextus Pompeius. Denarius, Sicily 37-36, AR 3.57 g.
Description: MAG·PIVS·IMP·ITER Head of Cn. Pompeius Magnus r.; behind jug and before, lituus. Rev. PRÆF Neptune standing l., foot on prow, between the brothers Anapias and Amphinomus, with their parents on their shoulders; in exergue, CLAS·E.T·ORÆ / MARIT·EX·S·C. References: Babelon Pompeia 27
C 17
Sydenham 1344
Sear Imperators 334
Woytek, Arma et Nummi p. 558
RBW 1785
Crawford 511/3a Condition:Rare and among the finest specimens known. Exceptionally well struck and complete, light iridescent tone and good extremely fine Provenance: 51 Gallery sale 13 November 2015, 127 Note: This coin shows the iconography of the famous saga of the Sicilian brothers (in later sources referred to as Anphinomus and Anapias). In the most ancient version of this legend written by the Greek orator Lycurgus (In Leocr. 95 s.) there is actually no mention of names, and moreover there is but one pious hero, a fact which does not correlate with the classification eusebon choron (alms-place), as the spot where this event took place came to be known. The same event was also the inspiration for the final excursus of the pseudo-Virgilian poem "Aetna". Lycurgus retells the story thus: "It is said that in Sicily a river of fire erupted forth from Etna flowing throughout the area and towards one nearby city in particular; everyone tried to flee in an attempt to save themselves, but one young man, on seeing that his elderly father was unable to run from the torrent of lava, which had almost reached him, lifted the old man up onto his shoulders and carried him away. Weighed down by his burden, I think, the lava flow caught up with him too. Here, one can observe the benevolence of the gods towards virtuous men: the story says that the fire encircled the area and that they alone were saved. As a result, the place was dubbed 'seat of the pious', a name it still retains. The others who, in their haste to flee, abandoned their parents, all met a painful death".

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