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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
88001096

Hercules’ Eighth Labor – The Mares of Diomedes

CNG 88, Lot: 1096. Estimate $750.
Sold for $1500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (35mm, 22.44 g, 12h). Labor of Hercules type. Dated RY 10 (AD 146/7). Laureate head right / Hercules standing right, grabbing horse and preparing to strike with his club; a fallen horse to left behind; [L I] (date) in exergue. Köln -; Dattari (Savio) 8505 (this coin); K&G -; Emmet 1553 and p. 74B, no. 8 (same rev. die). Near VF, brown and green surfaces, a few pits. Rare.


From Group CEM. Ex Giovanni Dattari Collection, no. 8505.

The four mares of the giant Diomedes, king of the Bistones in Thrace, had a nightmarish taste for human flesh. It was Hercules’ task to steal them, and he set about doing so with a cortege including the Locrian youth Abderus, a beloved of the hero, who in the midst of the story is eaten by the horses. Hercules, according to some renderings, was so distraught he fed Diomedes to his own mares in revenge. The Thracian town of Abdera was founded nearby Abderus’ grave.