CARTHAGE. Second Punic War. Circa 220-205 B.C. AR half shekel. 3.04 gm. 18 mm. Carthage or Sicilian mint. Struck during the expedition to Sicily, circa 213-210 B.C. Head left (of Melkart, or Hannibal, or another of his Barca family relatives), wearing laurel wreath / Elephant advancing right; Punic A in exergue. CNP 447. Burnett, Enna Hoard 126-128 (same dies). SNG Copenhagen 383. Essays Mattingly 8b (Gades?). Good Very Fine; beautiful deep cabinet tone; well centered on a broad flan; short striking crack at 4'. Both portrait and elephant are handsome and choice. One of the more pleasing of this type to have been offered. Rare.
The Zabel Collection. Ex Davissons Auction 20 (12 February 2004) lot 21.
Whether the obverse head represents the god Melkart, or Hannibal, or another member of the Barca family, is still debated. Hannibal, widely considered one of the greatest military strategists in history, was a Carthaginian general and statesman who led Carthage against the Roman Republic during the Second Punic War. He famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps with North African war elephants. He occupied most of southern Italy for fifteen years, but was forced to return to Carthage to face the counter-invasion of North Africa led by the Roman general Scipio Africanus.
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