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Historical Article

Bruttium, Temesa

As recently as the publication of Historia Nummorum Italy (2001), most scholars had dismissed this issue of Kroton as the product of modern forgers (cf. HN p. 193). This conclusion was primarily founded on the forgery of this type created by Becker in 1828 (Hill 14), combined with the extreme rarity of the extant examples. Nonetheless, a few examples are known that are clearly not pieces from Becker's dies (e.g. Basel 234). Perhaps most significantly, scholars have overlooked the existence of an example in F. Carelli’s manuscript catalogue of 1812 (C. Cavedoni, Francisci Carellii Numorum Italiae Veteris Tabulas CCII, Leipzig, 1950, pp. iii and 97), which clearly existed at least 15 years prior to Becker's forgeries. For another recent example of this type, see Leu 86, lot 263.

Very little is known today about the history of Temesa (also known as Tempsa) other than that the city was either of Aitolian or Phocaian origin, and is thought to have been linked to the city of Sybaris. Following Kroton's destruction of Sybaris, Temesa was apparently dominated by Kroton, as evidenced by this coin type. These nomoi feature the tripod, the civic badge of Kroton, and were paralleled by a similar issue at Kroton (see lot 166, above, for information on these issues). From the later fifth century BC, Temesa was conquered by a number of other cities until finally falling under Roman domination. With the chaos of its later history, it is not surprising that is its sole known coinage.

BRUTTIUM, Temesa. Circa 430-420 BC. AR Nomos (8.12g, 4h). Tripod flanked by greaves / Corinthian helmet right. SNG ANS -; HN Italy -; Basel 234 (same dies); Jameson 464.