BRUTTIUM. The Brettii. Circa 214-211 B.C. Æ unit. 9.02 gm. 22 mm. Laureate head of Zeus right / Eagle standing left, wings spread; BΡET-TIΩΝ around. HN Italy 1980. Near Very Fine; rich brown and green patina, with attractive red patina on eagle. (Cf. lots 17 and 18.)
The Brettii appear to have originated from a group of runaway slaves and fugitives from Greek cities in the north who took refuge in the rugged mountainous regions of southern Italy, eventually gaining power over most of Italy south of the river Laos. As Roman authority expanded the Brettii formed alliances with their neighbors, but were ultimately defeated. Subsequently attracted by Hannibal's early successes against Rome, they allied themselves with him and Carthage, turning all of Bruttium into a Punic fortress during the Second Punic War. During this time the entire series of Brettian coinage was struck (cf. lots 17-19). The Brettii were again on the losing side, and after Hannibal's defeat the Romans subjugated Bruttium through annual military deployments and the establishment of colonies, and denied them the usual rights granted to Roman citizens throughout the empire.
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