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458269. SOLD $5750

SIKYONIA, Sikyon. Circa 335-330 BC. AR Stater (25mm, 12.12 g, 8h). Chimaera standing left; wreath above, ΣE below / Dove flying left; N to left; all within wreath. BCD Peloponnesos 218 (same dies); HGC 5, 201; BMC 57; Traité III 776. EF, bright surfaces. Well centered.


Ex Dr. Patrick H. C. Tan Collection.

The Chimaera was introduced as a design type on the coinage of Sikyon sometime in the fifth century BC. While the real reason will remain a mystery, the curious choice of this mythological beast (Sikyon – apart from some isolated and extremely rare issues from Macedon and Asia Minor – was one of only three cities to use the type as a design on their coinage) may derive from Sikyon’s association with Corinth, a city which also struck an issue featuring the Chimaera in connection with Bellerophon, the grandson of Sisyphos and the son of the Glaukos, king of Corinth. According to the myth related by Homer (Il. VI.155-203), Bellerophon was sent by Iobates, king of Lycia, to slay the Chimaera – a fire-breathing beast composed of the body of a lioness with a tail that terminated in a snake's head and the head of a fire-breathing goat that arose from its back. To accomplish this, Bellerophon captured the winged horse, Pegasos. Flying high overhead to avoid the creature’s fire, Bellerophon slew the Chimaera by thrusting a spear, tipped with a block of lead, down its throat. The lead melted, suffocating the Chimaera, and Bellerophon returned victorious to Iobates.