Circa 415-409 BC
AE Hemilitron. 2.66g, 16mm
MINTED: SICILY, Himera, circa 415-409 BC
REF: HGC 2, 479; CNS 35; Sear 1110
OBVERSE: Head of nymph left, wearing sphendone.
REVERSE: 6 pellets in three rows (mark of value) within laurel wreath.
Very Fine. Rough, Smooth, green patina.
Himera was one of the earliest and most significant Greek settlements on the northern coast of Sicily. By virtue of its position, the city came to be strategically important at a time when tensions between the Greeks and the Carthaginians, who controlled areas of western Sicily, began to rise.
In 480 BC, it was the site of the Battle of Himera, where Hamilcar Mago, King of Carthage, led a huge army of up to 300,000 soldiers against the combined forces of Gelon, Tyrant of Syracuse, and Theron, Tyrant of Akragas. According to Herodotus, the Battle of Himera was fought on the same day as the Battle of Salamis, where Xerxes of Persia, who was allied with the Carthaginians, engaged the armies of the Greek city-states. Even as that battle was a disaster for the Persians, the Battle of Himera on Sicily ended with the crushing defeat of the Carthaginians. Of Hamilcar, it is said that he was either killed in battle, or that he hurled himself into a huge sacrificial fire when the defeat of his army became apparent. Himera was saved on that occasion, but about 70 years later, another Carthaginian army, led by Hamilcar's grandson, Hannibal Mago, beseiged the city and overcame its defenses. Hannibal was said to have sacrificed 3000 Greek prisoners to avenge his grandfather, before completely destroying Himera.
SICILY, Himera . Circa 415-409 BC . AE Hemilitron . Nymph
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