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    Description

    Attractive Sybaris

    LUCANIA. Sybaris. Ca. 550-510 BC. AR stater or nomos (25mm, 7.58 gm, 12h).  Bull standing left, head right; VM above / Incuse bull standing right, head left. Fabricius class A, fig. 3. SNG ANS 823 (same obverse die). HN Italy 1729. NGC AU? 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style.

    From The California Collection. Ex Paul H. Gerrie Collection (Triton XII, 6 January 2009), lot 44.

    The Greek colony in Sybaris, located on the instep of the Italian boot, was founded circa 720 BC and quickly amassed great wealth due to its fertile fields and active port. The historian Diodorus Siculus claims it had a population of 300,000 in its heyday, a number aided by the city's "no questions asked" policy of admitting outsiders to its citizenship. Descriptions of the city's wealth and the abundance of luxurious dwellings abound in ancient literature, and "Sybarite" became a synonym for any self-indulgent lover of luxury. Its destruction by Croton in circa 476 BC was attributed to divine vengeance for its ostentatious wealth. The silver coinage of Sybaris follows the remarkable relief / incuse pattern employed by other cities of Greek southern Italy in the sixth and early fifth centuries BC, which required careful flan preparation and precise alignment of the dies. The bull of Sybaris, with its reverted head, exerted a powerful influence on modern artists, including Picasso. 


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
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