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    Rare Sulla Siege Issue

    ATTICA. Athens. Ca. 165-42 BC. AR tetradrachm (27mm, 16.72 gm, 11h). NGC AU ★ 5/5 - 5/5. New Style coinage, Roman occupation under Sulla. 86-84 BC. Heead of Athena right wearing triple-crested Attic helmet ornamented with leaping griffin and four horses above visor / Owl standing right, head facing, on amphora, flanked by two large monograms (of MAP and TAM), A on amphora; all within laurel wreath. HGC 4, 1777. Thompson Group I, 1279. An attractive example of this rarity, with gunmetal gray toning and bluish iridescence.

    Ex Stack's (November, 1946), lot 197.

    Despite political turmoil in Rome in 88 BC, the newly elected Consul L. Cornelius Sulla was determined to carry on with the war against Mithradates VI of Pontus, who had slaughtered 80,000 Roman civilians and threatened to wrest all of Rome's eastern provinces from her control. When his command was blocked by the political maneuvering of his old rival Marius, he marched his legions on Rome to re-assert his authority, a first in Roman history. This accomplished, he departed for Greece with a sizeable force and landed at Epirus in 87 BC. Most of central Greece submitted to his authority, but Athens remained loyal to Mithradates, so Sulla placed the city under siege and starved it into submission, entering on March 1, 86 BC. His men ruthlessly stripped the city of all portable wealth. During the siege, Sulla took a page from the Roman administration of Macedon and struck a local coinage on the same pattern as the Athenian "New Style" tetradrachms, removing the city's identifying ethnic and replacing it with two monograms that probably stand for MAR(cus) TAM(ioy), or "Marcus the Treasurer." The mint location was probably the camp of Sulla's supporting general Lucullus; ancient sources refers to such coins as "Leukolleia." 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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