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    Description

    Life, Death Struggle

    SICILY. Syracuse. Time of Dionysius I (405-367 BC). AV 100 litrae (15mm, 5.80 gm, 10h). NGC AU 4/5 - 4/5. Struck circa 396 BC. ΣΥΡΑ[ΚΟΣΙΩΝ], head of Arethusa left in high classical style, hair pulled back into parallel waves along brow line, back held in sphendone decorated with stars, eight-pointed star behind head, pellet before / Nude youthful Heracles kneeling to right, arms wrapped around neck of Nemean lion crouching left, his head pressed against the lion's back, the lion's claws pushing against his thigh and the ground. HGC 2, 1275. SNG ANS 330 (same dies). Faint doubling evident, otherwise a pleasing specimen.

    The reverse image of Heracles strangling the Nemean Lion is a work of great power and pathos, and probably is intended to reflect the ongoing struggle between Syracuse (Heracles) and Carthage (lion) for control of Sicily. Dionysius I had just won a great victory over Carthage in 396, providing the impetus for this attractive series of gold pieces. The engraver has captured the moment of maximum tension, with Heracles tightening his grip around the lion's neck and mane while it claws desperately against his legs for escape.


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    Auction Dates
    January, 2017
    8th-9th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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