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833293. Sold For $15000

ARKADIA, Mantineia. Circa 500-495 BC. AR Triobol (13mm, 2.91 g, 2h). Bear advancing left, with star-like pattern on fur / Incuse square consisting of two larger rectangles containing M-A and two smaller rectangles. BCD Peloponnesos 1447 (this coin); BMC 1; Traité I 1236. Good VF, toned. Extremely rare and possibly the second-finest known.

Ex BCD Collection (LHS 96, 8 May 2006), lot 1447; Elsen 37 (17 December 1994), lot 80.

The obverse iconography of this issue clearly relates to the mythology of Kallisto, a companion of Artemis, who was seduced by Zeus and later gave birth to Arkas. As a result, Kallisto was thereupon turned into a bear by either an outraged Artemis, a jealous Hera, or a worried Zeus trying to hide her. Afterwards, Hermes rescued Arkas and delivered him to the nymph Maia to be raised (the scene depicted on the reverse). Lykaeon, seeking revenge against the gods for the loss of his daughter, sought out Arkas, murdered him, and served him to Zeus as an offering. In retaliation for offering him human flesh as a sacrifice, Zeus transformed Lykaeon into a wolf and restored Arkas to life. Arkas, upon attaining adulthood, became a great hunter, as befitting the son of a worshipper of Artemis. While hunting one day, Arkas pursued a bear into the sacred sanctuary of Zeus Lykaeos and killed it. It was his mother, Kallisto. For the double blasphemy of violating the sanctuary and slaying his mother, Arkas was put to death by Zeus. But as a grieving mate and father, Zeus caused Kallisto and her son to be translated to the heavens, as the constellations Kallisto and Arktophyla and as alluded to by the star-like pattern on the bear’s fur.