Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Greek Karia Knidos

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Antik Sikkeler

4 Şub 2022

On the obverse of this ancient coin is show Infant Herakles nude, strangling a serpent in each hand.


At some point around the turn of the fifth to fourth century BC several major cities in Asia Minor issued a joint symmachy [alliance] coinage, all bearing as the obverse type the figure of the Herakliskos Drakonopnigon, with the letters ΣYN featured prominently, which is generally interpreted as syn[machoi]. Byzantium, Knidos, Kyzikos, Ephesos, Iasos, Lampsakos, Rhodes, and Samos were evidently all participants, and their coins retain their individualistic reverse types - for example, the bee for Ephesos, the roaring lion for Kyzikos, and as seen here, the head of Aphrodite for Knidos.

The dating and purpose of this extraordinarily rare alliance coinage remains a subject of some debate, and its placement in the chronology and events of the age depend partly on the interpretation of the obverse type by various scholars. At this juncture, we may relate the myth from which the type is derived: on the night that Herakles was to be born, Hera, knowing of her husband Zeus' adultery with the mortal Alkmene, persuaded Zeus to swear an oath that the child born that night to a member of the House of Perseus would be High King. Hera did this knowing that while Herakles was to be born a descendant of Perseus, so too was Eurystheos, son of Sthenelos. Once the oath was sworn, Hera hurried to Alkmene's dwelling and slowed the birth of Herakles by forcing Ilithyia, goddess of childbirth, to sit cross-legged with her clothing tied in knots, thereby causing Herakles to be trapped in the womb. Meanwhile, Hera caused Eurystheos to be born prematurely, making him High King in place of Herakles. She would have permanently delayed Herakles' birth had she not been foiled by Galanthis, Alkmene's servant, who lied to Ilithyia, saying that Alkmene had already delivered the baby. Upon hearing this, she jumped in surprise, untying the knots and thus allowing Alkmene to give birth to Herakles. Having failed to prevent his birth, Hera sent two serpents to kill the baby Herakles as he lay in his cot. While his twin brother Iphikles screamed in terror, Herakles throttled the snakes, one in each hand, and was found by his nurse playing with their limp bodies as if they were toys.