|Sale: CNG 63, Lot: 102. Estimate $2500.
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 May 2003.
Sold For $2500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
Circa 460-440 BC. AR Tetradrachm (17.33 gm). Artemis driving quadriga left, Apollo beside her drawing bow / Nude figure of river-god Selinos standing left, holding phiale over canopied altar and branch; rooster on altar, bull on basis, selinon leaf to right. Schwabacher 7; SNG ANS 689 (same dies). Lightly toned VF. ($2500)
Ex Classical Numismatic Group 42 (29-30 May 1997), lot 146.
Traditionally, the coin types of Selinos have been explained as graphic representations of a tale associated with the Sicilian philosopher Empedokles, a "natural philosopher" who was credited with miraculous cures and the manipulation of natural forces. According to Diogenes Laertes, writing in the third century AD, the people of Selinos implored Empedokles to relieve them of the effects of the pestilential marshes surrounding their city. To accomplish this, he first incorporated the course of one nearby river into another; he then flushed out the marshes with this combined flow. The iconography is made to fit the tradition: the bull and marsh bird become the rivers Selinos and Hypsas; Apollo becomes Alexikakos, the relief of illness; the rooster and serpent represent Askelpios, son of Apollo and the first physician; and Herakles subduing the Cretan bull signifies man's conquest over nature.
Recent scholarship, however, has tended to throw the traditional interpretation into doubt, since it fits neither the facts nor geography, and the symbols only represent the shrines dedicated to Selinos and Hypsas with their associated cults. Given the character of Empedokles, it is possible that the coin type influenced the tale, rather than the other way around.