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CARTHAGE. Circa 300-264 BC. Æ Shekel(?) (18mm, 5.72 g, 12h). Mint on Sardinia. Wreathed head of Tanit left / Head of horse right; star to right. CNP 251e; MAA 57a; SNG Copenhagen 144–6. Dark green patina, some smoothing in fields, slightly enhanced details. Near EF. With a majestic horse’s head.

Carthage, a Phoenician colony on the coast of North Africa, became a maritime powerhouse in the fifth century BC and challenged the Greek cities of Sicily and Southern Italy for control of the western Mediterranean. By the early third century, much of Sicily had fallen under Carthaginian control and mints were established on the island to produce coins used to pay the largely mercenary army. The stage was now set for the collision with Rome, newly dominant in Italy. Starting in 265 BC, Carthage and Rome fought three titanic wars that produced more death and destruction than any other conflict before the 20th century. Ultimately defeated, Carthage was razed to the ground by victorious Rome in 146, only to be revived as a Roman metropolis under Julius Caesar circa 49-44 BC.