Androcles and the Lion
ITALY, Papal Coinage. Alexander VII.
|Triton XIV, Lot: 1395. Estimate $2000.
Sold for $2300. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
1655-1667. Æ Cast Medal (98mm, 170.32 g, 12h). Gioacchino Francesco Travani (fl.
1634-1675), engraver. Dated 1659. * ALEXANDER VII P M PIVS IVST OPT SENEN PATR GENTE CHISIVS MDCLIX (triskeles stops), bust left, wearing camauro, mozzetta, and pallium / MVNIFICO PRINCIPI DOMINICVS IACOBATIVS/ET FERA MEMOR V BENEFICII (triskeles stops), Androcles and the Lion: Androcles standing right within the Circus Maximus
, holding sword and shield, taming lion crouching to right. Miselli 567. EF, wonderful light brown patina, trace of prior mounting.
Described in popular tradition as a slave in the Roman Empire during the first century AD, Androcles allegedly sought shelter in a cave inhabited by a wounded lion. After removing a thorn from the ailing lion's foot, the lion recovered and became tame toward Androcles. Years later, when he returned to civilization, Androcles was captured and imprisoned as a fugitive slave and sent to the Circus Maximus to be publicly devoured by wild animals. The animal which Androcles encountered, however, was his befriended lion and, upon recognizing him, the lion crouched down and spared him. As a result, Androcles was pardoned and freed along with his lion. The tale survived throughout antiquity, with minor details being changed, but the overall message of the tale remained.