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Nilus and a Nilometer

368, Lot: 338. Estimate $150.
Sold for $475. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Severus Alexander. As Caesar, AD 222. Potin Tetradrachm (24mm, 13.49 g, 12h). Dated RY 5 of Elagabalus (AD 222). Bareheaded, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Nilus reclining left, holding a cornucopia, from which emerges a genius, and a reed; to left, a Nilometer as an obelisk with two genii attendants; two additional genii by the reed; L Є (date) in exergue. Köln 2397; Dattari (Savio) 4245; K&G 62.10; Emmett 3080.5. VF, dark gray-brown surfaces.

From the Hermanubis Collection.

The Nilometer, in this case a stone obelisk that measured the inundation of the Nile, was a prominent landmark in Egyptian culture. It was vital as a calendar to mark the passing of the seasons and for assessing the fertility of the land, which depended on the annual Nile flood. It occurs frequently in Egyptian art, surrounded by attendants and the fruits of the fertile river.