Agathokles, 317-278 BC
AE Hemilitron. 8.23g, 23.8mm x 20.5mm
MINTED: SICILY, Syracuse, circa 295-289 BC
REF: CNS 142-5; HGC 2, 1537 (S)
OBVERSE: ΣΩΤΕΙΡΑ; head of Artemis Soteira right, wearing triple-pendant earring and necklace, quiver over shoulder.
REVERSE: ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΕΟΣ / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΟΣ, Winged thunderbolt.
Ex Cardinal Joachim Meisner Collection
Cardinal Meisner (1933-2017) was a leading figure in the Roman Catholic church, serving as Archbishop of Cologne from 1989 to 2014. He was a close friend of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. After he passed away in 2017, his private collection of antiquities was auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the Cardinal Meisner Foundation of Cologne.
Very Fine. Brown and green patina with some brassy highlights. An attractive piece with an excellent provenance.
Agathokles was an exile of Syracuse who became a mercenary leader in southern Italy, later returning with a small army to seize power in the wealthiest and most prominent city in Sicily. From 317-305 BC, he ruled as tyrant of Syracuse, and after he forced the withdrawal of the Carthaginians from Sicily by invading their homeland in North Africa, he had himself declared king over the entire island. Thereafter, Agathokles would work at building up his image as a great Greek ruler, marrying Theoxene, stepdaughter of Ptolemy I, the Hellenistic King of Egypt, and later betrothing his daughter Lanassa to King Pyrrhos of Epeiros. In his later years, Agathokles sought to bring the Greek cities of southern Italy under his rule, though his success here was mixed. He was contemplating launching a new invasion of Carthage when he died in 289 BC in his mid-50s, either from a disease or from being poisoned by his favorite slave, Mainon.
SICILY, Syracuse . Agathokles, 317-289 BC . Hemilitron . Ex Meisner Collection
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