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    Incomparable Caulonia

    BRUTTIUM. Caulonia. Ca. 525-500 BC. AR stater or nomos (31mm, 7.97 g, 12h). KAVĪ›, full-length figure of nude Apollo advancing right, holding olive branch in right hand, small winged figure (daemon) atop extended left arm, running right and holding branch in each hand; in right field, stag standing right, head reverted / As obverse, incuse and reversed. Noe, Caulonia Group A, 6 (same dies). HN Italy 2035. Broad, spread flan with light iridescent toning. An incomparable example of archaic Greek art, displaying the remarkable technical perfection achieved by the southern Italian coin masters working in the relief-incuse fabric. NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style.

    Ex Leu 72 (12 May 1998), lot 41.

    Caulonia was founded in the 7th century BC by Achaean Greeks, either by emigres from the homeland or from the nearby city of Croton. The location, on the underside of Italy's "toe" on a headland jutting out into the sea, has in the centuries since disappeared beneath the waves, but underwater archaeology has located  more than 100 fluted columns and two spectacular mosaics, both depicting dragons, dating to the 5th-4th centuries BC. The columns were likely for a large shrine to Apollo, the deity depicted on the city's beautiful and intriguing coinage. On this magnificent piece, Apollo's entire nude body is shown in refined Archaic form, striding to right, with a small winged daimon on his left arm; to his right stands a stag, sacred to both Apollo and his sister Artemis. The unusual fabric of this piece follows a style peculiar to Greek southern Italy in the archaic period: A broad, thin flan, obverse depicted in relief, the reverse repeating the obverse motif but in negative relief, or incuse, and reversed. Creating such coins required a high degree of technical skill and quality control. The reasons for the popularity of this fabric are poorly understood; some scholars have postulated a connection to the mathematician-philosopher Pythagoras, who was active in Italy during this period and taught a creed which stressed the duality of mankind's nature and all existence.


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
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