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Historical Article

Bruttium - Alliance of Kroton and Temesa



This coinage parallels a similar issue at Temesa (see lot 170, below). In 510 BC, Kroton destroyed its rival, Sybaris. Current scholarship indicates that Temesa was a city associated with Sybaris, and that following the destruction of the latter, Temesa came under the domination of Kroton. These coins were issued during this period. It has been thought that they represent a military alliance (summacia) between the cities, apparently based on the military nature of the iconography, but no historical record of such an alliance exists. Both coins exhibit a tripod on the obverse and a helmet on the reverse. Rather than the helmet indicating a military purpose, it is more likely that it is simply the civic badge of Temesa, and therefore each city’s badge appears on the coins. As such, it is more likely that the coinage represents a political/civic alliance (homonoia) between Kroton and Temesa. The Temesan coins also feature a pair of greaves on the obverse, which may be an attribute of that city’s most prominent deity, Polites (see Strabo, VI.1.5).

BRUTTIUM, Kroton. Circa 430-420 BC. AR Nomos (7.98g, 5h). Tripod, legs terminating in lion's feet; TE to right / Corinthian helmet right. SNG ANS 448 (same dies); HN Italy 2122.