SICILY. Selinos. Circa 455-409 B.C. AR tetradrachm. 16.97 gm. 25 mm. Artemis, holding reins, driving quadriga right; beside her, Apollo standing right, drawing bow; barley grain in exergue / The young river god Selinos standing facing, head left, cradling palm frond and holding phiale over altar to left; before altar, cock standing left; to right, selinon (wild celery) leaf above bull standing left on basis. Schwabacher 30. HGC 2, 1221. SNG ANS 698. Jameson 720. Near Extremely Fine; beautiful style dies, well struck. Lightly toned with iridescence; traces of horn silver around part of rim. Exceptionally attractive example of this beautiful and difficult issue. Rare.
Selinos was founded about 628 BC, the westernmost Greek colony on Sicily, and was named for the wild celery that flourished there. This magnificent tetradrachm was struck at the height of Selinos' power and wealth, within a few decades before its destruction in 409 BC by an army of combined forces from Segesta and Carthage. A similar type was chosen by Charles Seltman for his famous book "Masterpieces of Greek Coins."
Twin brother and sister Apollo and Artemis were patron gods of Selinos. The inclusion of a cock, the badge of Himera, signifies the longstanding friendship of these two cities, which dates back to at least 480 BC, and their Classical period tetradrachms both similarly show a chariot scene on the obverse and a purifying sacrifice scene on the reverse. Both cities were destroyed in 409 BC by Carthage.
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