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783979

Exceptional Punic Bronze

783979. Sold For $875

SICILY, Panormos (as Ziz). Circa 430-380 BC. Æ Hexas (16mm, 4.49 g). Cock standing right; Punic ZIZ to right / Two pellets. CNS 3; SNG ANS -. EF, dark brown, almost black, patina. Very rare, and exceptional for issue.



In the final decade of the 5th century BC the Carthaginians launched a series of invasions of Sicily, conquering much of the western half of the island and bringing devastation to many formerly flourishing Greek communities. The Punic presence lasted for a century and a half, until Rome's victory in the First Punic War obliged them to withdraw. During their time of occupation, the Carthaginians struck an extensive coinage in Sicily for the purpose of financing their military operations and the maintenance of garrisons. The obverse and reverse types of the series are mostly influenced by Sicilian prototypes, particularly those of Syracuse, except for the later series with the head of Herakles on the obverse which was obviously influenced by the well-recognized coinage of Alexander the Great. While a few of the series are struck at cities with established mints, such as Motya and Panormos, these are often viewed as minor or campaign mints that operated for a short duration. The location of the primary Punic mint (or mints) on Sicily, responsible for the large issues studied by G.K. Jenkins (’Carthage’ series I-V), has been the subject of great debate. Most recently I. Lee surveyed the preexisting literature and took a fresh look at the full spectrum of evidence, persuasively concluding that this mint was located at Entella (”Entella: The Silver Coinage of the Campanian Mercenaries and the First Carthaginian Mint 410-409 BC”, NC 2000).