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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
76000996
Sale: CNG 76, Lot: 996. Estimate $200. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 12 September 2007. 
Sold For $700. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MACEDON, Koinon of Macedon. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Mid-third century AD. Æ 26mm (12.69 g, 5h). Diademed head of Alexander right / Hercules standing right and holding club, capturing Cretan Bull. AMNG III 549; cf. Voegtli 4g-h; SNG Copenhagen -. VF, brown and black olive patina.


From the James E. Cain Collection.

Hercules, made temporarily insane by the goddess Hera, murdered his wife and children. Once recovered, and distressed by his actions, Hercules consulted the Delphic Oracle to find a means of expiating his sin. As a punishment, Apollo replied that the hero would have to serve his cousin Eurystheus, the king Tiryns, a man whom Hercules despised, for a period of twelve years. Because Eurystheus also hated Hercules, he devised a series of ten feats of such difficulty that they would be either insurmountable, or Hercules would die in the attempt. Because Hercules received assistance in completing two of the tasks, Eurystheus added two more. Each labor became more fantastic, and eventually Hercules was compelled to break the bonds of the supernatural in order to complete his task. Once he accomplished the Labors, Hercules was absolved of his guilt, and preceded to perform many other heroic feats.

Compelled to capture the bull as his seventh Labor, Hercules sailed to Crete. Minos, the king of Crete, gave the hero permission to take the bull away, as it had been causing destruction on the island. Hercules subdued the Bull with his bare hands, and shipped it back to Athens. Although Eurystheus wished to sacrifice the Bull to Hera, the goddess refused the sacrifice because it reflected glory on her sworn enemy. The bull was released and wandered into the town of Marathon, where it became known as the Marathonian Bull.