Lot 49 – Ténédos – Troas – Tétradrachme (c.100-70)

Lot 49 – Ténédos – Troas – Tétradrachme (c.100-70)
Monnaies Grecques
Prix réalisé
15’000 CHF
16’000 CHF
Date de vente
Sat 28 Jan 2023 at 10:00 (Europe/Zurich)
Ténédos – Troas Tétradrachme (c.100-70) Très rare et d’un style exceptionnel – Quelques rayures à l’avers. Exemplaire de la vente Gorny & Mosch 207 du 15 octobre 2012, N°290. 16.68g – F. de Callataÿ, Les monnaies hellénistiques en argent de Ténédos, Studies Price, 15m Superbe à FDC – NGC Choice AU (4/5 et 2/5) Coinage in Tenedos was a long-established tradition when this coin was struck, the earliest ones dating from the late 6th-century BC. These earliest ones already presented a double-headed bust on the obverse, with a female face on the right and a (bare) male one on the left, and a double-headed axe on the reverse (labrys). This double duality evokes the history of the city, said to have been founded by Tenes, the son of the king of Kolonai, and his step-mother, who were accused of being lovers, and condemned to be thrown in the sea whilst imprisoned in a chest: they landed on the island of Leukophrys, of which Tenes became ruler and which took his name (Cicero, De natura deorum II.15.39 writes that he was deified). An archaic law condemned adulterous couples to be executed with a labrys, and this was the theory of Aristotle himself to explain this unusual coin design, but it seems unlikely, more so than another version of the mythology that tell us that Tenes was falsely accused of having raped an otherwise unknown woman and was condemned with his sister rather than his stepmother (in that version the king of Kolonai finally learned the truth and sailed to Leukophrys, but Tenes expressed his unwillingness to forgive by cutting the moorings of his father’s boat with an axe), so the coin’s reverse could also copy the shell of a local type of crab, which might have been used for some form of barter-currency before coinage. The laurel wreath on the male head, which appeared at the end of the 5th-century BC, suggests that the janiform couple depicts Zeus and Hera (with a stephane / diadem), though it is tempting – as there is vine on the reverse – to recognise two heads of Dionysos. This later issue, with its wreath around the axe, belongs to the Hellenistic stephanephoric (‘wreath-bearing’) coinages, Tenedos being only one of a number of cities that struck such large silver coins.
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