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Sicily, Katane AR Tetradrachm. Circa 465-450 BC. The river god Amenanos as a bearded, man-headed bull kneeling to right on ground line; floral design in exergue / Nike, wearing long chiton, advancing left, holding taenia in her outstretched right hand, wreath in left; H to left, KATANAION around. SNG ANS 1236; Randazzo pl. 4, 75 (same dies). 17.32g, 29mm, 4h.

Very Fine. Very Rare.

From a private American Collection.

The city of Katane, founded around 729 BC by Chalkidic colonists from Naxos, was established on the site of the archaic village of the same name that was then peopled by the indigenous Sikels, who had named their village after the rugged black lava landscape (katane, meaning sharp stones). The native Sikels were rapidly hellenised, but the Naxian founders kept the autochthonal name for their new home on the banks of the river Amenanos.

This coin was struck within a few years of the refoundation of the city, issued in celebration of the return of the Chalkidic inhabitants of Katane to their homeland following the Aitna episode. Hieron, tyrant of Syracuse, had forcibly transferred the populations of Katane and Naxos, Katane's parent city, to Leontinoi, renamed Katane as Aitna and settled it with 5,000 colonists from Syracuse and 5,000 Dorians from the Pelopponese. However, after the death of Hieron in 466 and the overthrow of his brother Thrasybulos less than a year later, relations between the newly democratic Syracuse and its former colony soured, leading to war in 461. Allied with the Sikels under Douketios, Syracuse through several battles compelled the newly settled inhabitants to retire to the fortress of Inessa (to which they gave the name of Aitna), while the old Chalkidic citizens were reinstated in the possession of the city. The obverse depicts clear civic types referencing both the life-giving river by which Katane was sited, and other types show the wine-grapes that must have been key to the city's prosperity through use of the type of Silenos. The taenia borne by Nike on the reverse here almost certainly alludes to the fall of the Deinomenid tyranny that, with the aid of Syracuse and the native Sikels, allowed the displaced people to return to their ancestral home.

Sicily, Katane AR Tetradrachm. (rxiv57)

Price: £3,929.60

  • US $5,182.36
  • EUR €4,408.62
  • AUD $6,626.88
  • CHF 5,106.91
  • CAD $6,543.96
  • (Rates for 23/10/2017)
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