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Nike Bouthutousa

787310. Sold For $465

SICILY, Syracuse. Roman rule. After 212 BC. Æ 23mm (7.56 g, 12h). Helmeted head of Ares right / Nike Bouthutousa kneeling facing on bull crouching right, preparing to sacrifice it. CNS 233; SNG ANS 1089. Good VF, green patina.

The figure of Nike sacrificing a bull, or Nike Bouthutousa, frequently appears in Classical art, representing the celebratory sacrifice for victory. Along with the portrait of Ares on the obverse, this coin may commemorate the recent capture by the Romans of the city of Syracuse in 212 BC. It was during the siege of this city that the mathematician and geometer Archimedes devised numerous engines by which the city might be saved. Among these was a claw which was supposed to be able to lift enemy warships out of the water. Unfortunately, such “secret weapons” did little to stave off the surrender of the city. With the fall of Syracuse, Rome was able to cut off support for Hannibal, then in southern Italy, thereby forcing him to finally withdraw from the peninsula.