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    Description

    Marvelous Messana

    SICILY. Messana. Ca. 425-413 BC. AR tetradrachm (27mm, 17.35 gm, 12h). Biga of mules to right, driven by a female charioteer; above, Nike flying right crowning wreath with wreath, olive leaf in exergue / ΜΕΣΣΑ-Ν-Ι-ΟΝ, hare springing right, dolphin leaping right below. Caltabiano 494 (D201/R202). SNG Lloyd 1094. Jameson 649. Exceptional strike in sound metal, with gorgeous mellow toning. NGC AU ★ 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    In 484 or 480 BC, a mule team from Messana won the Olympic Games in the event known as the anape (mule biga race); naturally, civic pride prompted the Messanians to advertise the victory on their coinage, with the olive leaf in the exergue symbolic of the wreath worn by victorious athletes. The hare is an animal sacred to the god Pan, who had a temple in Messana and was widely worshipped there. The dolphin below the hare harks back to the original name of Messana, Zankle ("sickle"), so named for it's crescent-shaped harbor, of which the leaping dolphin's arched shape became a visual allegory. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 726

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