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Historical Article

Bruttium, The Brettii - Poseidon and Thetis.

Artistically, this coin is one of the loveliest of all Greek coinage. Inspired by the Pyrrhic silver prototype depicting the sea-nymph Thetis on a hippocamp as she contemplates the shield of her son Achilles, this Bruttian creation pairs Poseidon on the obverse with his consort Amphitrite and substitutes an Eros for the shield. In early literature this piece was dated to around 282 BC since it copied the main theme of a Pyrrhic type, but later study has placed this issue in the Second Punic War as it shares the engraver's mark Γ with certain Carthaginian silver issues.

BRUTTIUM, The Brettii. Time of the Second Punic War. Circa 221-201 BC. AV Drachm (4.25 gm). Attic standard. Struck circa 213-205 BC. Bearded head of Poseidon left, wearing taenia, trident behind; dolphin below / ΒΡΕΤΤΙΩΝ, hippocamp right on which Amphitrite is seated left, holding Eros in extended right hand, who stands left drawing a bow; star to right, tiny Γ (engraver's signature) at feet of Eros. Scheu II G.7; SNG ANS 14 var. (murex; signature on obverse); SNG Lloyd 539 (same dies); SNG Copenhagen -; Jameson 403 var. (symbols; no signature); Gulbenkian 118 var. (cornucopiae on reverse); Pozzi -; Weber 952 var. (symbols; no signature); HN Italy 1951.