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The Liberation of Katane


SICILY, Katane. Circa 461-450 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 16.81 g, 10h). River-god Amenanos as a man-headed bull kneeling right; above, satyr running right, hands extended and raised before him; in exergue, ketos right / Nike running left, wearing long chiton, holding a fillet in her extended right hand; KATA-N-AION clockwise around from upper left. Mirone 19 (same dies); HGC 2, 560; Basel 323 (same dies); Kraay & Hirmer 28; Rizzo pl. IX, 14 (same obv. die); Triton XXIII, lot 94 (same dies). Toned, light smoothing in fields on obverse, slight roughness and double struck on reverse. Near EF. Rare.

This tetradrachm is from the first coinage struck at Katane following the liberation of the city from Syracusan domination in the late 460s BC. The obverse of this series features the local river god Amenanos in the guise of a man-headed bull. On the reverse, the spirited figure of Nike holding a diadem appears, like so many Sicilian coin types as well as an allusion to the recent victory of the native Katanaians and the recovery of their city. Nearly all published examples of this issue have double-struck reverses.