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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 689. Estimate $600. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CILICIA, Tarsus. Hadrian. 117-138 AD. AR Tridrachm (9.40 gm). Laureate bust right, drapery on left shoulder / Sandan standing on horned animal right, holding bow case, sword, an axe (or hammer), and wreath. Cf. SNG Levante 996; Prieur 767; SNG France 1407. VF, porous surfaces. Interesting mythological type. ($600)

The cult of Sandan, or Sandas, is a remnant of the 17th century BC Hittite occupation of Cilicia. In his Luwian form he was Teshub, the god of mountain storms. Within the Hittite sanctuary at Yazilikaya he is depicted as a bearded god with conical headdress, holding a club and plant, probably related to the Mesopotamian Tree of Life. Like the rest of the Hittite High Gods, Teshub's feet never touch earth; he either rides the back of mythological beasts, is borne on the shoulders of lesser gods, or strides above the mountain tops. The mountain tops recall the lofty Hittite homeland, as does the high-peaked cap, and the pyramidal shape of Sandan's altar. While Sandan's cult in Tarsos became assimilated with that of Herakles, in his origins as a nature god he is more closely attuned to the Greek king of the gods, Zeus. This depiction of Sandan appears some 2000 years after his first appearance in mythology, yet the similarities to the Hittite original are striking.