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    Description

    Archaic Velia Didrachm

    LUCANIA. Velia. Ca. 400-350 BC. AR didrachm (20mm, 7.61 gm, 2h).  Lion crouching right on dotted ground line, B (reverted) above / YEΛ-HTΩN, head of nymph Velia right, hair arranged in krobylos (pearled headband). HN Italy 1275 (same dies). SNG ANS 1225. Rare! NGC AU 4/5 - 3/5, light graffito.

    From The California Collection.

    Located on a "bump" of Italy jutting into the Tyrrhanian Sea, Velia started out as a colony of expatriate Phocaeans fleeing Persian occupation in the 540s BC. Originally named Hyele and then Elea, the city became home to a school of philosophers known as the Eleatics, founded by Parmenides, one of the most important pre-Socratics, in about 450 BC, shortly before this rare early didrachm was struck. The style shows the obvious influence of two Sicilian cities, Leontini (obverse lion) and Syracuse (reverse female head); although Classical artistic conventions were widespread by this time, the style displayed here retains many Archaic conventions. In 273 BC, Velia allied itself to Rome, which protected it from the depredations of the native Lucanians and preserved its Greek heritage throughout the Imperial period. 


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