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Hercules & Antaeus
Unpublished Type for Severus Alexander

313, Lot: 166. Estimate $100.
Sold for $150. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

TROAS, Alexandria Troas. Severus Alexander. AD 222-235. Æ (24mm, 7.14 g, 12h). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Hercules wrestling the giant Antaeus, whom he is lifting off the ground. Bellinger –; BMC –; SNG Copenhagen –; SNG München –; Voegtli –. Fine, rough brown and green patina. Rare type which Bellinger only recorded for Septimius Severus and a mature Caracalla.

A giant of Libya and the son of Poseidon and Gaia (the earth goddess), Antaeus would challenge travelers to wrestling matches, easily killing his opponents and collecting their bones to construct a temple to his father. It was en route to the Garden of Hesperides to complete his eleventh labor that Hercules met Antaeus. A wrestling match ensued, but Hercules was unable to finish his opponent as Antaeus regained his strength each time the hero threw him to the ground. Realizing Antaeus’ strength waned as the he left the earth (i.e., the protective realm of his mother), Hercules lifted the giant aloft while crushing him to death.