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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Remarkable Bust Type
The Bearded Apollo of Hierapolis

Triton XXII, Lot: 543. Estimate $750.
Sold for $6000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CYRRHESTICA, Hierapolis. Caracalla. AD 198-217. AR Tetradrachm (25mm, 12.84 g, 12h). Struck AD 215-217. AVT K M A AN-TΩNЄINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust left, with gorgoneion on breastplate, holding scepter over shoulder in right hand, large shield suspended by baldric over left shoulder; shield is decorated with a half-length figure of the bearded Apollo of Hierapolis, wearing calathus, holding serpent-entwined spear in right hand and flower in left, set on a pedestal decorated with two eagles / ΔHMAPX ЄΞ V-ΠATOC TO Δ, eagle standing facing, head right, with wings spread, holding wreath in beak; between legs, lion advancing right. Prieur 935 (this coin illustrated); Bellinger 101. Good VF, toned. Extremely rare, only 6 cited by Prieur, none in CoinArchives.

From the Michel Prieur Collection.

A fascinating bust type, the shield Caracalla carries is decorated with a cult image of a local deity, whom Henri Seyrig (“Sur une idole hiérapolitane,” Syria 26 [1949], pp. 17-41) identified as the bearded Apollo of Hierapolis contained within the temple complex of Atargatis and Haddad. The statue is only briefly discussed by Lucian of Samosata (De Dea Syria 35), but Macrobius (Saturnalia I.17.66-67) describes ite in much greater detail, informing us that Apollo wore a calathus, pointy beard, and cuirass, and held a lance and flower.