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Research Coins: Printed Auction

Triton XXII, Lot: 544. Estimate $750.
Sold for $1100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CYRRHESTICA, Hierapolis. Caracalla. AD 198-217. AR Tetradrachm (2526mm, 13.12 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, with wings spread and holding wreath in beak, on lion advancing right. Prieur 934 (this coin cited); cf. Bellinger 101/103 (for obv./rev.). VF, toned, some porosity. Extremely rare, only 3 cited by Prieur, none in CoinArchives.

From the Michel Prieur Collection. Ex Robert Gait Collection, 765; Classical Numismatic Auctions XVIII (3 December 1991), lot 352.

A fascinating bust type. This shield Caracalla carries is decorated with a cult image of a local deity, who 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 the statue in much greater detail, telling us Apollo wore a calathus, pointy beard, and cuirass, and held a lance and flower.