Roma Numismatics Ltd.   |   Auction XVII   |   28 March 2019 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
Online bidding ends:  28 March 2019 10:00 CET

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Lot 348





Estimate: 40'000 GBP   |   Starting price: 32'000 GBP
GBP  
Sicily, Panormos (as Ziz) AR Tetradrachm. Circa 405-380 BC. Charioteer, holding kentron in left hand, reins in both, driving fast quadriga right; Nike flying left above, crowning charioteer with wreath she holds with both hands; hippocamp swimming to right in exergue, Punic ṢYṢ before / Head of nymph left, wearing ampyx, triple-pendant earring and pearl necklace; three dolphins around. Jenkins, Punic 30 (O7/R26); SNG ANS 538 (same obv. die); SNG Lloyd 1583 (same dies); Rizzo pl. LXIV, 27. 17.19g, 27mm, 3h.

Good Extremely Fine.

Ex Roma Numismatics Ltd., Auction IV, 30 September 2012, lot 54;
Ex Classical Numismatic Group Inc., Triton XV, 3 January 2012, lot 1067;
Ex Pierre Arnaud Collection, Hess-Divo AG, Auction 307, 8 June 2007, lot 1064;
Ex Münzen und Medaillen AG Basel, Auction 79, 28 February 1994, lot 147.

The city that would eventually come to be known as Panormos (Greek: ‘sheltered harbour’) was originally founded in c. 734 BC by Phoenicians from Tyre, who established on the site a flourishing merchant colony which they named Ziz (Punic: ‘flower’). It was the most important of the three colonies forming the ‘Phoenician Triangle’ cited by Thucydides, the others being Motya and Solus. The remains of the earliest Phoencian presence are few however, and mostly preserved in or below the very populated centre of the downtown area, and little excavation has been conducted on account of such efforts being costly and logistically difficult. Like Neapolis in Campania, (Naples), the city had two hearts - the first settlement was known as Paleapolis (literally, ‘Old City’), in order to distinguish it from a second settlement built during the 5th century BC, called Neapolis (‘New City’). Neapolis was erected towards the east of Paleapolis, and along with it monumental walls were thrown up around the whole settlement to guard against attack from the landward sides.

The influence of Greek designs on the Punic coinage of Sicily is particularly evident on this type. Jenkins (Coins of Punic Sicily, SNR 50, 1971) identifies the reverse portrait as being a “free adaptation” of the portrait of Arethusa on Kimon’s dekadrachm. While the portrait lacks the hair net of Kimon’s Arethusa, the triple-drop earring and characteristic curls on the top of the head are emphasised in the design. While Jenkins admits that the result is “remote” from Kimon’s original, the second generation of Kimonian copies (reverse dies 28-29) are much closer reproductions, such that the inspiration for the type is indisputable. It has been noted that the obverse is a copy of the work of ‘Euth-’, who produced a radical, energetic die (Tudeer obv. die 15) at Syracuse, a work whose key elements are reproduced here. As the reverse is a relatively free interpretation of Kimon, so too is the obverse an adaptation of ‘Euth-’; gone are the wings of the charioteer and the Skylla; instead of this symbol of Syracuse we see a hippocamp, perhaps taken from the coinage of either Himera or Messana, and in the place of the artist’s signature on the original is the Punic ethnic ‘Ziz’. Inspired by these types, the artist or artists responsible for this coin have produced immensely beautiful dies that are amongst the very finest in the whole Siculo-Punic series.

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