Carthaginians in Sicily

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by RichardT, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Hello all,

    I've found it to be a difficult few months for coins. Competition seems to be really fierce and I've usually found it wiser to stay out. Or so I tell myself.

    Here is the latest acquisition to share, a "Greek" tetradrachm. It weighs 17.15g (Attic Standard) and is 25mm wide. Likely struck between 320-300 BCE.

    This coin was struck in Sicily by the Carthaginians, indicating that it predates the first Punic War. It was also the last of the Siculo-Punic tetradrachms, as the Carthaginian defeat in the First Punic War resulted in them ceding Sicily to the Romans. The Punic inscription below the horse head is believed to translate as "People of the Camp", which is now believed to refer to ancient Entella.

    This tetradrachm was likely intended to pay mercenaries who were accustomed to being paid with Greek coinage, as attested to the usage of the Attic weight standard. The finest dies of this series were probably engraved by Greeks employed or captured by the Carthaginians.

    The obverse bears the image of Herakles/Melqart wearing a lion skin headdress, likely inspired by the coinage of Alexander the Great. The reverse has a horse's head and a palm tree, clearly identifying it as a Carthaginian issue. The palm tree is known as "Phonix" in Greek, which is a reference to the term Phoenician. This tetradrachm thus exhibits a fascinating combination of Greek and Punic symbols.

    Please share any related coins you may have.

    Siculo Punic tetradrachm.jpg
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    A beautiful coin with intriguing history-- what's not to love? Herakles looks quite pleased and the horse is well rendered :).

    SICILY, Entella. Punic issues
    c. 300-289 BCE; AR tetradrachm, 24 mm, 16.8 gm, 12h)
    Obv: head of Melquart-Herakles right, wearing lion skin
    Rev: head of horse left; astragalos (cut over poppy) to left, palm tree to right, Punic MHSBM (approximate meaning is "quaestors" or financial controllers) below
    Ref: Jenkins, Punic 366 (O115/R298), series 5b
    Ex Gorny & Mosch 138 (7 March 2005), lot 33
  4. Egry

    Egry Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice. I love these coins. Here is mine, but not nearly as nice as either of yours. TIF, yours is fantastic!

    “People of the camp”
    C38DCE86-C80E-4C00-A3A4-D091AFD06A6A.jpeg 80B9C588-C542-4AC8-85DD-3075FF3D8EC2.jpeg
  5. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I forgot I did an in-hand video of my Entella tet. Looks like a quivering octopus is holding the coin o_O.

  6. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Excellent detail on that Tet, @RichardT ... especially the horse head, just gorgeous! Huge congrats finding it! Well done.

    I regret that I have not captured this Tet yet, and it is definitely on my radar, as I enjoy collecting Carthage Empire coins.

    Here are a couple AR's, one before the Punic War Series and the other during the 2nd Punic War prior to losing Sicily to the Romans:

    Roughly during the Height of the Carthage Empire
    Carthage in Sicily,
    Uncertain Sicilian mint
    4th C BCE
    AR Litra
    9.5mm., 0.65g.
    Obv: Palm tree.
    Rev. Head of horse r.
    SNG Copenhagen (Africa) 74. Jenkins, Punic, Part 2, p. 31 and pl. 6, C.
    From the E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection

    Second Punic War just prior to losing Sicily to Roma
    Carthage Zeugitania
    AR ½ Shekel
    17mm 3.8g
    2nd Punic War 218-202 BCE
    Sicily mint 216-211 BCE
    Obv: Tanit l
    Rev: Horse r sun as double uraeus
    SNG COP 359
  7. Hamilcar Barca

    Hamilcar Barca Active Member

    Here is mine. Half Shekel AR, 20mm 3.68 gm. SNG COP 362. Much prettier in hand.
    Shea19, Justin Lee, Pishpash and 16 others like this.
  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    But, it is GREAT on screen. That is a super coin! I really like that reverse...great detail. Tanit has a different look to her.
    Ryro, TIF and Hamilcar Barca like this.
  9. Hamilcar Barca

    Hamilcar Barca Active Member

    But here is the sad part. I bought this coin at auction and there was a COP 359 like yours offered immediately after. Bidding was fairly lengthy but I was determined to get it. At that point the battery in my mouse died and I could bid no further. Lesson learned.
    I have noticed Tanit seems to have different looks among my Carthaginian collection.
    Theodosius and Alegandron like this.
  10. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    WOW! That is a MAJOR bummer!!! I had a similar situation with a Pre-211 BCE Denarius Reform - Half-Quadrigatus - harder to find! Fighting through the bids, then my Internet went out in a storm! Was winning, then LOST! Ugh, they are a little harder to find coins!
    DonnaML likes this.
  11. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Here are a couple more SICULO-PUNIC AE's

    Carthage Siculo-Punic AE 17 Late 4th-Early 3rd C BCE Tanit Horse Prancing SNG COP 95

    Carthage Siculo 330-300 BCE AE 15 Palm Tree Pegasus SNG Cop 108
    Shea19, Justin Lee, DonnaML and 11 others like this.
  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter


    Sicily Akragas Punic occup 213-210 BC AR Half Shekel 19 mm 2.9g Male head r Triptolemos wreath grain -Horse leaping r Punic Ḥ SNG COP 378
    Justin Lee, Andres2, DonnaML and 11 others like this.
  13. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    RichardT, Nice score on the Tet :D. The horse on the reverse is especially well done. The Carthaginians & Greeks on Sicily were warring long before Rome became a super power. They reached a temporary truce with Carthage controlling the Western part of the island & the Greeks controlling the Eastern side. My coin uses a caduceus as a control mark. The coin TIF posted has a fascinating control mark of a knuckle bone. I believe these were good luck charms & used in fortune telling. Click image for an enlarged view.

    Siculo Punic Tet.jpg
  14. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Well done, and gorgeous example!

    This is why I enjoy the ROMA-CARTHAGE-GREEK conflict. Such a fascinating / rich history and Human struggle.
    DonnaML and Theodosius like this.
  15. Macromius

    Macromius Still around sometimes...

    @RichardT That is a sublimely elegant coin. The die engraver was clearly a master artist. To me it seems superior to Tiff's wonderful example which has a nicer round flan. That horse head really is amazing. Congratulations on your acquisition!
  16. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    There are some superb examples in this thread.

    I've been tempted to acquire a Punic tetradrachm for type, but the high price for a good example has thus far tempered my efforts.
    Alegandron likes this.
  17. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Entella "The Camp" Ar Tetradrachm 300-289 B.C. Obv Beardless head of Herakles right. Rv Horse head left. Jenkins 343 This Coin illustrated 17.03 grms 23 mm Photo by W. Hansen siciliopunic6.jpg
    Shea19, Justin Lee, DonnaML and 10 others like this.
  18. Edessa

    Edessa Supporter! Supporter

    Such lively horses! I broke down and bought a Tridrachm from CNG a few years ago..

    CARTHAGE, Second Punic War. Circa 203-201 BC. BI Tridrachm (25mm, 7.88 g, 11h). Obv: Wreathed head of Tanit left. Rev: Horse standing right, head left; pellet above raised foreleg. Ref: MAA 81b; SNG Copenhagen 395.

  19. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    Thanks all for your kind words and for sharing your coins. I was a little hesitant about bidding for this coin because of the odd shaped flan and slightly off struck obverse, but you have to make compromises.

    I really like TIF's video. Great way to show the obverse high relief. Certainly TIF's example has a better obverse. Stunning.

    Overall I think I like Terence's example the best though. Well struck obverse and reverse, and the horse's eye is well defined. Sublime!
    Edessa likes this.
  20. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Terrific aquisition, @RichardT! I love the style on both sides, and the odd shaped flana s well!
  21. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    I don't have an example of the Heracles obverse but here's my related coin. Carthage was embracing their Syracuse connection with this issue, depicting Tanit as Persephone/Arethusa:


    Head of Tanit-Persephone l., wearing barley wreath, bar and triple pendant earring and dotted necklace; below chin, cockle shell and around, four dolphins. Rev. Horse's head l.; behind, palm tree with date clusters. Below neck truncation, 'mmhnt' in Punic characters.

    SNG Fitzwilliam 1488 (these dies)
    SNG Copenhagen 85 (these dies)
    Privately purchased from Ratto in 1945
    Gorny & Mosch sale 228, 2015, 44
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page