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    Hercules Battles Hydra, Ex Huntington

    Maximian, first reign (AD 286-305). AV aureus (20mm, 5.18 gm, 7h). Rome, AD 293-4. MAXIMIANVS PF AVG, laureate head of Maximian right / HERCVLI DEBELLAT, Hercules standing right battling the Lernaean Hydra, holding club in his upraised right hand and preparing to strike one of the hydra's heads, grasped with his left hand, its serpentine body wrapped about his left leg, P ROM in exergue. RIC -- (unknown at time of publication). Depeyrot 9/7. Calic├│ 4662 (same dies). Brett, NC 1933, 49. A simply spectacular aureus, perfectly struck from fresh dies, with an expressive portrait in high relief and an energetic reverse. One of the finest aurei we have ever offered, with a peerless pedigree to one of the greatest coin collections ever assembled! NGC MS? 5/5 - 4/5.

    Ex Archer M. Huntington Collection (NAC 67, 17 October 2012), lot 219 (ANS-HSA 22148).

    Among the grand designs of Diocletian was an effort to restore the Roman religion to its former prominence. Toward this end, each of the ruling Tetrarchs was assigned to a "house" corresponding to the Roman deities Jupiter and Hercules, with Diocletian himself representing the former and his co-Augustus Maximian as the latter. Diocletian thus became the supreme ruler, while Maximian became his facilitator and "man of action." This obverse portrait of this astonishing aureus of Maximian from the mint of Rome gives him the blunt, manly look of a Roman Hercules, while the reverse depicts the hero in a ferocious struggle with the many-headed Hydra, one of his Twelve Labors. The symbolism draws a distinct parallel between the hydra slain by Hercules and the myriad challenges faced, and defeated in turn, by the Tetrarchic regime.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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