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Herakliskos Drakonopnigon - ‘Herakles the Snake-Strangler’

776810. Sold For $17500

BOEOTIA, Thebes. Circa 395 BC. EL Hemidrachm (12mm, 3.02 g, 12h). Bearded head of Dionysos right, wearing ivy wreath / The infant Herakles seated facing, strangling two serpents; all in incuse square. BCD Boiotia 470; SNG Copenhagen 302; Weber 3265 (same dies). Good VF, typical short flan. Very rare.

Ex BCD Collection (not in Triton sale); Virgil M. Brand Collection (Part 3, Sotheby's, 9 June 1983), lot 75.

These coins were probably struck with Persian gold (see Head, Boeotia p. 41). This is a rare opportunity for the advanced collector to acquire one of the two denominations of the only issue from Thebes (and the whole of Boiotia) in precious metal.

Herakles was the son of Zeus and Alkmene. This union and the child it produced enraged Zeus’ wife, Hera, who tried to kill Herakles. Shortly after his birth, she sent two serpents one night to strangle the infant as he lay sleeping in his crib. The following morning, the nurse discovered Herakles playing with their lifeless bodies: during the night he had strangled one in each hand. This early example of his renowned strength earned him the name Herakliskos Drkonopnigon, or “the serpent-slaying infant Herakles.”