Macedon, Akanthos - One of the Most Beautiful Examples

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In marked contrast to the preceding tetradrachm that displayed an archaic and highly stylised depiction of the lion-bull combat scene wherein the principle composition was executed in pellets and rounded shapes in the manner of a frieze, the present piece is high classical in style, possessing a fluidity of movement that is epitomised in the bull's transcending of the exergual line in its bid to shake off its assailant.

The remarkable realism with which both animals are engraved is deserving of particular mention. The lion's maned head immediately captures the viewers attention, drawing the eye to the bull's curved tail, its detailed rear quarters, and to the bull's front right claw which curves around and grasps the underside of the bull's flank - a technical triumph. From here our gaze must turn to observe the determined glare in the bull’s eye as it makes its bid to fend off the lion.

Macedon, Akanthos AR Tetradrachm. Circa 425 BC. Bull collapsing to left, head lowered, attacked and mauled by lion upon his back to right; tunny fish swimming to left in exergue / Quadripartite square with raised fields, ΑΚΑΝΘΙΟΝ around; all within incuse square. Cf. Desneux 97/102 var. (obverse) and 103 (reverse die R92). 16.65g, 27mm.

Good Extremely Fine. Very Rare, the second known example of this die pair. Very possibly the most beautiful of all surviving tetradrachms of Akanthos.

Ex Nomos 2, 18 May 2010, lot 52.