AE26. 12.0g, 25.7mm
MINTED: MOESIA INFERIOR, Nicopolis ad Istrum, circa AD 217-218. Statius Longinus, legatus consularis.
REF: Varbanov 3480; AMNG 1760; Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov (Feb 2019) 22.214.171.124 (R5)
OBVERSE: ΑVΤ Κ Μ ΟΠΕΛΛ CΕV ΜΑΚΡΙΝΟC ΑV, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind.
REVERSE: VΠ CΤΑ ΛΟΝΓΙΝΟV ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC ΙCΤ, Hercules standing left, club raised, battling the Lernaean Hydra.
Almost Very Fine. Dark, blackish green patina. Very rare, and with an interesting mythological reverse depicting the Second Labour of Herakles.
In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was one of the abominable offsprings of the hundred-headed Typhon and the half-serpent Echnida, mother of monsters. It was later raised by the jealous goddess Hera to kill Herakles, the son of her adulterous husband Zeus. When one of the twelve Labours given to Herakles by King Eurystheus was to slay the Hydra, the hero duly hero made his way to the monster's lair at Lake Lerna, supposedly an entrance to the Hades, near the eastern coast of the Peloponnese. The Hydra had nine heads, each of which would regrow into two if it was cut off, and one of which was immortal. In addition, both its blood and breath were poisonous. Herakles eventually triumphed when he chopped off each of the Hydra's heads and cauterized the stump with fire so it would not regrow, and then despatched the final immortal head with a magical golden sword given to him by Athena.
Following his victory over King Decebalus in the Dacian Wars (AD 101-106), Emperor Trajan reorganised the region and founded several cities, including Nicopolis, which was situated by the river Iatrus. Nicopolis flourished as a major trade centre throughout the 2nd century, though by the mid 3rd century, the region began to be increasingly subject to invasions by the barbarian tribes. The city was destroyed in AD 447 by the soldiers of Attila the Hun.
MACRINUS . MOESIA INFERIOR, Nicopolis ad Istrum . AE26 . Herakles & Hydra *Rare*
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