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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton V, Lot: 1164. Estimate $5000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $4000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SICILY, Eryx. Circa 410-400 BC. AR Tetradrachm (17.01 gm). Charioteer driving galloping quadriga right, holding kentron in right hand, reins in both; Nike flying above crowning charioteer, grain ear in exergue / EPV[KINON] right, Aphrodite seated left on diphros, holding dove in right hand, left hand at side; Eros on left standing right, with right arm extended. Rizzo pl. 64, 13 (same dies); SNG Lloyd 943; Kraay-Hirmer 192 (same obverse die); Antikenmuseum Basel 278 = Jameson 569 (this coin). Toned, good VF, a bit weak on the reverse. Very rare. ($5000)

From the William N. Rudman Collection. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica Auction 13 (8 October 1998), lot 278; Hess-Leu Auktion (27 March 1956), lot 90; R. Jameson Collection, 569; Arthur J. Evans Collection.

Eryx, an Elymian settlement and mountain, was famous for its sanctuary of sacred prostitution and the cult of Astarte-Aphrodite-Venus high up the acropolis rock, today called Monte San Giuliano. Dependent on Segesta in the fifth century, Eryx was occupied late in the century by the Carthaginians, temporarily seized by Pyrrhos in 278/7, and finally fell to Rome during the First Punic War. The Romans stressed the Elymian-Trojan associations of the cult: Virgil (Aen. 5. 759f.) makes Aeneas visit Eryx and found the temple. The cult enjoyed great popularity, and sanctuaries of Venus Ericina were established at Rome and elsewhere during the third and second centuries BC.