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    Description

    Striking Rhodian Tetradrachm

    CARIAN ISLANDS. Rhodes. Ca. 229-205 BC. AR tetradrachm (24mm, 13.52 gm, 11h).  Ameinas, magistrate. Radiate head of Helios facing slightly right / Rose with bud to right; AMEIN-IAΣ across field, prow in left field. Ashton 212. SNG Keckman 542. SNG Copenhagen 752. HGC 6, 1432. Lightly toned and struck in high relief. NGC AU 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The California Collection. Ex Kim Werner Collection (Heritage 3020, Long Beach, 6 September 2011), lot 25002. Acquired from Harlan J. Berk, 8 December 1989. 

    The city of Rhodes on its eponymous island was a relatively late foundation, formed in 408 BC by the union of Ialussus, Camirus and Lindus. Its strategic position on an island between Europe and Asia Minor assured its prosperity and growing importance as a naval power. In 305 BC, Rhodes allied itself with Ptolemy I of Egypt against Antigonus I and his son, Demetrius, who quickly attacked the city and placed it under siege. Despite employing the most imposing artillery and siege engines yet seen, Demetrius was forced to give up the siege by the timely arrival of a relief force sent by Ptolemy. The Rhodians sold off the abandoned siege equipment for 300 talents and used the money to build a gigantic statue of the city's patron god, Apollo-Helios. Designed by the brilliant sculptor Chares of Lindus, the statue was composed of bronze plates attached to an iron frame and stood 98 feet tall atop a 50-foot base. The head of Helios was topped by a crown of radiating sunbeams, an image replicated on the famous coins of Rhodes, including the example seen here. The radiate Helios remained the symbol of Rhodes long after the Colossus was toppled by an earthquake in 226 BC. 


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