AR Hemidrachm. 2.5g, 17.1mm
MINTED: THESSALY, Trikka, circa 440-400 BC
REF: BCD Thessaly II 769 var. (arrangement of ethnic); HGC 4, 311
OBVERSE: Thessalos, petasos and cloak tied at neck, holding band around head of forepart of bull right.

REVERSE: [TP]IK-KA-I[ON], forepart of bridled horse right; all within incuse square.



Fine. Toned. Brush-cleaned surfaces with light surface scratches. The obverse depicting the bull and wrestler in an engaging, energetic style.

These distinctive and charming taurokathapsia ('bull wrestling') types were issued by several cities in Thessaly in the mid 5th century BC, celebrating what was essentially a national sport amongst the fierce and fractious Thessalian tribes.  The Thessalian taurokathapsia involved a horse rider chasing down a bull, grabbing its horns to leap onto its back, then dismounting, and wrestling it into submission.  It was a sport that required equal amounts of expert horsemanship, dexterity, and incredible physical strength.



Ex BCD Collection (with his round handwritten tag)

The BCD Collection was possibly the largest and most important private collection of Greek coinage ever assembled.  Over the course of five decades, the collector, known publicly by the initials BCD, acquired over 50,000 coins representing the major cities and regions of ancient Greece.  An accomplished numismatist, BCD studied not just the historical context but also the art and chronology of the coins, with some of the results of these studies eventually finding their way into the notes he provided for the catalogues of the sale of his coins.  Many of these published catalogues are now used as the standard references for the regions they cover.  A provenance to the BCD Collection is one of the most desirable that a Greek coin can possess.


Historical Notes:

Thessaly in central Greece was a region of fertile, grassy plains ringed by mountains, with Mount Olympus serving as a backdrop.  Unlike other Greek regions which tended to cultivate primarily olives and grapes, Thessaly was best known for its magnificent horses, cattle, agriculture, and sports such as bull-wrestling.  Located in northwestern Thessaly, Trikka was a fortress-city that was known throughout Greece for its ancient sanctuary of Asklepios, the healer-god who was said to have been born there. 

THESSALY, Trikka . 440-400 BC . AR Hemidrachm . 'Bullwrestling' type . Ex BCD

SKU: 3494
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