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    Choice Mint State Fine Style Second Labor of Hercules

    Maximian, First Reign (AD 286-310). AV aureus (18mm, 5.59 gm, 6h). NGC Choice MS 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. Rome, AD 293-294. MAXIMIA-NVS P F AVG, head Maximian right, wearing lion skin headdress, paws tied before neck / HERCVLI-DEBELLAT, Hercules standing left, battling the Lernaean Hydra, club in upraised right hand and preparing to strike one of the hydra's heads, another head grasped with his left hand, its serpentine body wrapped about his right leg; PROM in exergue. RIC - (unknown at time of publication). Calic├│ 4661. A simply spectacular aureus, perfectly struck from fresh dies on flashy lustrous surfaces, with an expressive portrait in high relief and an energetic reverse.

    From the Morris Collection. Ex. Tkalec AG (29 February 2000), lot 377.

    Among the grand designs of Diocletian was an effort to restore the Roman religion to its former prominence. Toward this end, each of the ruling Tetrarchs was assigned to a "house" corresponding to the Roman deities Jupiter and Hercules, with Diocletian himself representing the former and his co-Augustus Maximian as the latter. Diocletian thus became the supreme ruler, while Maximian became his facilitator and "man of action." This obverse portrait of this astonishing aureus of Maximian from the mint of Rome gives him the blunt, manly look of a Roman Hercules, while the reverse depicts the hero in a ferocious struggle with the many-headed Hydra, one of his Twelve Labors. The symbolism draws a distinct parallel between the hydra slain by Hercules and the myriad challenges faced, and defeated in turn, by the Tetrarchic regime.

    View all of [The Morris Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
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