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    Anatomical Masterpiece

    MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Demetrius I Poliorcetes (306-283 BC). AR tetradrachm (28mm, 17.16 gm, 1h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style. Ephesus, ca. 301-295 BC. Nike, blowing trumpet held in right hand and holding stylis in left arm, striding to left on prow of war galley left / ΔΗΜΙΤΡΙΟΥ ΒΑ-ΣΙΛΩ-Σ, Poseidon striding left, nude, viewed from behind, holding net on outstretched left arm, preparing to throw trident held in right; monogram to left, star to right. Newell 51 and plate V, 7 (same obverse die). HGC 3.1, 1012d. A simply splendid example of this beautiful and highly evocative type, deeply struck on a broad, medallic flan and possessing a figure of Poseidon rendered to the highest standards of classical artistry, the effect enhanced by smooth, reflective fields.

    From the Northern California Collection. Acquired from Freeman & Sear, 2002.

    The most dashing of Alexander's successors, Demetrius I Poliorcetes was the son of the great Macedonian general Antigonus Monopthalmus ("one-eyed"), who served both Philip II and Alexander III the Great. After Alexander's death, Demetrius led armies in support of his father's claim to supreme power. He won a signal naval victory in 306 BC at Salamis against the Ptolemaic fleet and, along with his father, accepted the title Basileos ("king"), ending the fiction that the Diadochi were ruling a united government. In 305 BC Demetrius subjected Rhodes to a titanic siege, employing the largest and most elaborate artillery engines and battle towers yet constructed. Ultimately unsuccessful, the siege still won him the epithet Poliorcetes ("besieger") by which he is still known. He had more success ruling Macedon 301-288 BC, but his extravagance and capricious nature eventually proved his undoing and he spent his waning years in comfortable Seleucid captivity. The dynasty he established endured in Macedon until 168 BC. This dynamic tetradrachm type was struck at several mints in honor of the great naval victory over Ptolemy at Salamis, with the obverse image of Nike matching closely the famous bronze statue of the winged goddess found at Samothrace and now housed in the Louvre. The reverse image of Poseidon is rendered here in incomparable classical style, an undeniable masterpiece of anatomical relief sculpture in miniature. 


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    3rd Thursday
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