Sicily, Segesta


1 in stock

SKU: 1250 Category: Tags: , , , ,


Circa 412-400 BC. AR litra, 0.85 gr., 11.8 mm.

Obv: head of the nymph Segesta facing slightly to the left; laurel branches flanking.

Rev: EΓEΣTAION (partially retrograde); hound standing to the left; above: facing gorgoneion, to the left: conch shell (Phyllonotus pomum).

Ref: Hurter, Didrachmenprägung K29.f; HGC 2, 1174; SNG ANS 651 (same dies); SNG Lloyd 1194 (same dies); McClean 2556 (same dies).

Rare, exceptional for issue. Extremely fine.

With Italian export license

Segesta was one of the major cities of the indigenous population of Sicily. Its foundation is ascribed its to a band of Trojan settlers, fugitives from the destruction of their city. The dog on the reverse of the coin is the river-god Krimisos who’s supposed to have seduced the daughter of a Trojan settler in the guise of a dog. The river Krimisos (modern day: Freddo) is located near Segesta. From the apple murex shell on the coin we can deduce that purple-dye was important to its economy. The city was at constant odds with its neighbor Selinus. So much so that it asked Athens for help, which led to the fateful “Athenian expedition” in 415 BC. Some belief that the city was originally named Egesta and changed to Segesta by the Romans to avoid its ill-omened meaning (Ægesta in Latin means “excrements”).