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    Hannibal Portrait?

    ZEUGITANA. Carthage. Time of Hannibal (213-210 BC). AR half-shekel (18mm, 3.36 gm, 10h). NGC MS 4/5 - 4/5.  Second Punic War issue. Carthage or uncertain mint in Sicily, ca. 213-210 BC. Laureate male head left (Melqart, Hannibal or Mago?) / African elephant advancing right; aleph in exergue. A. Burnett, SNR 62 (1983), 116-31. E. S. G. Robinson, "Punic Coins of Spain and their Bearing on the Roman Republican Series,"Essays Mattingly series 8b, pl. III (Gades). SNG Copenhagen 383. Deep gray "find patina" partially intact. Rare, with an exceptional portrait and reverse strike.

    From the Northern California Collection. Ex Coin Galleries (14 July 1993), lot 40. 

    The distinctive obverse head has been variously described in the literature as a depiction of Melqart, a Semitic version of Heracles, or Hannibal in the guise of the god, or possibly his brother Mago. Modern scholarship, which tends to be suspicious of early claims to see portraits in images of gods, interprets the head as that of Melqart. However, the distinct physiognomy of the nose and other facial features, as well as the sideburns, suggest an attempt at true portraiture.


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    January, 2018
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