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As Gordian III - Hercules 'Farnese'


GORDIAN III. Æ As. Rome, 241-243 AD. Obv. IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG Radiated, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. VIRTVTI AVGVSTI S C Hercules standing right, leaning on club and holding his lion’s skin with his left hand. RIC 309; C 406 The model for this reverse type is the famed marble Farnese Hercules statue that was discovered in the excavations of the Baths of Caracalla in 1546. It stood for over 200 years in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, from whence it gained its name, and was moved to Naples in 1787, where it is now displayed in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale. The statue is thought to be an enlarged copy sculpted in the early 3rd century AD by Glykon based on an original by Lysippos dating to the 4th century BC. The statue depicts Hercules at rest after completing his Labors: he is shown standing with his club, draped in the skin of the Nemean Lion, set upright on a rock, propped under his left arm supporting the weight of his muscular frame, his head slightly nodding forward in a weary attitude, and he holds the apples of the Hesperides behind his back in his right hand. The sculpture was apparently well-liked by the Romans, and copies have been found in Roman palaces and gymnasiums. [CNG] This type is known from aurei, gold quinarii, antoniniani, denarii, quinarii and asses (RIC 108, 110, 95, 116, 120 and 406), and from a unique unpublished dupondius (Leu 91, lot 635). The sestertius has not showed up until now. Listed as rare but encountered once in a while, so I would class this type as Scarce only; popular type however. Natural patina. Bought from Mike Vosper.

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Time of Gordian

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