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Classical Numismatic Group > Auction 100Auction date: 7 October 2015
Lot number: 1757

Lot description:

PHOENICIA, Tyre. Valerian I. AD 253-260. Æ (27mm, 10.83 g, 6h). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Cadmus standing right, nude but for billowing chlamys, about to hurl stone at the Ismenian Serpent; murex shell to left. Rouvier –; BMC –; AUB –; Lindgren II 2393 var. (bust type, murex shell between legs). VF, dark brown patina, earthen highlights. Rare.

The Ismenian Serpent or Ismenian Dragon was a giant creature that guarded the sacred spring of Ismenus in the vicinity of what would become Thebes. Cadmus encountered the monster, which was the offspring of Ares, while fetching water for a ritual related to the foundation of Thebes and slew it with a stone. Athena instructed the hero to sow the dragon's teeth in the earth, and a crop of armed warriors, called Spartoi, sprang up. Most of these warriors were killed by each other or by Cadmus in battle, but the five that survived – Echion, Udaeus, Chtonius, Hyperenor, and Pelor – became the ancestors of the Thebans.

This type appears to be much more common for Gallienus (see Rouvier 2530-1, BMC 487, and AUB 300-1).

Estimate: 500 USD