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    Description

    Pyrrhus Invades Italy

    LUCANIA. Metapontum. Time of Pyrrhus (ca. 290-279 BC). AV tetrobol or third-stater (13mm, 2.80 gm, 3h). Attic standard. ΛEYKIΠΠOΣ, bearded head of Leucippus right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, pushed back on head, decorated with Scylla hurling stone / Two barley ears of six grains, each with leaf; M-E across outer fields, ΣI between. Johnston G5.1 (same dies). HN Italy 1630. SNG ANS 397-8. Rare and exceptional, deeply struck on a broad flan and displaying considerable luster. NGC Choice AU 4/5 - 4/5, Fine Style.

    From the time he became king of Epirus in 319 BC, the handsome and charismatic Pyrrhus had designs of emulating Alexander the Great's career of conquest. An opportunity came in 280 BC, when the city of Tarentum in southern Italy sought his assistance in resisting Rome. Landing in Italy with his army and several war elephants, he marched against the Roman consul Publius Valerius Laevinus and defeated him near Heraclea. Though the disciplined Epirote army terrified the Romans, they put up a bitter struggle. Pyrrhus won a second, even more costly victory at Ausculum in 279 BC, after which he is said to have remarked, "another such 'victory' and I am finished!" Thus was born the phrase "Pyrrhic victory," a battle won at such cost that it might as well be a defeat. The presence of Pyrrhus in southern Italy and Sicily soon became an occupation, with the hosting cities forced to strike coins to pay the army. This attractive gold piece of Metapontum is one such issue, displaying an appropriately militant helmeted male head (Leucippus, founder of Metapontum) of exceptional style.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2016
    8th-13th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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