Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 100   |   29 May 2017 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 90

Estimate: 8'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 6'400 CHF Price realized: 7'000 CHF
Stiela. Drachm circa 400, AR 4.02 g. Laureate youthful head l.; to l., branch. Rev. ΣΤΙΑ Forepart of man-headed bull l. Mirone, Stiela, pl. 3, 3 (these dies). Rizzo pl. 60, 16. AMB 420 (these dies).
Extremely rare, only very few specimens known. Wonderful old
cabinet tone and good very fine

From a private American collection.
This extremely rare drachm was struck by the obscure Sicilian Greek city of Stielane. Although the city is often called Stiela in numismatic references it has been pointed out that the city must be Stielane on the basis of the silver litrai which include the full city ethnic. The precise location of the city remains unknown, but based on known findspots for the coins and the typological relationship with coins of Katane it has been suggested that Stielane was probably founded by the Katanaians shortly after they were deported by Hieron I of Syracuse in 476 BC.
Both of the types refer to the local river-god. On the obverse he appears in human form as a youthful male deity while on the reverse he appears as a man-faced bull, a local avatar of Acheloös, the taurine father of all rivers in Greek mythology. Acheloös, whose original home was in Akarnania, famously fought against the hero Herakles. Despite his power to change his shape and his prodigious strength, Acheloös was finally bested by the son of Zeus. The emphasis on river deities and particularly the use of the man-faced bull iconography belongs to a long-established numismatic tradition in Greek Sicily.

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