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The Olympians

AMAZING and VERY RARE SYRACUSE-DILITRON in FINEST STYLE SICILY - SYRACUSE - TIMOLEON AND THE THIRD DEMOCRACY (344-317 BC). BRONZE (AE) DILITRON SICILY, Syracuse. Timoleon and the Third Democracy (344-317 BC). Time of Timoleon (344-337/6 BC). Bronze (AE) Dilitron (26mm, 18.88 g, 4h). ΖΕΥΣ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΟΣ, Laureate head of Zeus to left. Rev. ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ, free horse prancing to left. Antikes Museum Basel (AMB) 499; CNS 80 st 2; SNG ANS 533-541; SNG Lloyd 1456-1457. VERY RARE !!! ALMOST EXTREMELY FINE. Very lovely specimen with a SPLENDID STYLE of ZEUS in one of the BEST and FINEST STYLES of the PERIOD and especially for the TIMOLEON DILITRA !!! Struck in high Relief with beautiful dark green Patina. AMONG THE FINEST STYLES of ALL BRONZE-DILITRA of SYRACUSE and of TIMOLEON !!! From an European Collection formed before January 2011. Ex. Dr. Busso PEUS Nachf. 403 (27.04.2011), Lot 48. --- The dilitra of Timoleon bear a very different head of Zeus Eleutherios (Zeus the Liberator) from those found on the coinage of Dion. Dion’s head harks back to the style of the 5th century BC and has a refined Classical elegance; that of Timoleon has a much more late Classical-early Hellenistic feel, rather like the heads of Zeus on the coinages of Philip II, Olympia and the Arkadian League. Here we have nobility and power combined in a single head of great beauty; as a series these are among the most attractive of all Greek bronzes. This Dilitron is surely one of the most beautiful coins to have been struck by Syracuse. The obverse die was cut by a master engraver of exceptional talent who created a head of Zeus Eleutherios, which is of great majesty and conveys an aura of nobility and serene power. This engraver (or his followers) probably also created some of the dies for the syracusan gold tristaters under Timoleon. He must have been familiar with contemporary work elsewhere previously, especially in Greece, as in Megalopolis and, especially, in Olympia, or he must be a follower from the school of this master engraver, who had created a lot of dies for the famous masterpieces of the coinage of Peloponnese (Olympia, Megalopolis, ect.). In fact, there are many parallels in the work art between the head of Zeus on this Dilitron and that on the UNIQUE STATER of Olympia, that was struck ca. 352 BC for the 107th Olympiad, once in the Käppeli collection (= Leu 90, 10 May 2004, lot 133 - this coin belongs now to our "The Olympians Collection"), that the same engraver almost certainly was responsible for both of them; otherwise the Dilitron engraver has been inspired by the Zeus Portrait(s) of Olympia and Megalopolis, that are inspired by Leochares’ statue of Zeus Brontaios (the Thunderer) in Olympia. In any case the work of the Zeus head on this Dilitron is obviously from the same engraver art and almost certainly from the same engraver school, it is responsible for the majestic Zeus Portraits of the Olympia and/or Megalopolis Coinage. (For one of this majestic coins, i.e. for the Megalopolis Stater, see TRITON XV, Lot 1012, sold for Hammerprice $300,000.00). Further the engraver of this Dilitron must be the same artist as well (or someone from his followers), who has created the dies for the extremely rare Zeus/Pegasus silver stater of Syracuse under Timoleon, of which there are two examples known: the first in Naples (see Rizzo pl. LVIII, 2); the second is ex Tkalec, 25 October 1996, Lot 15 = ex TRITON XV, Lot 1016 (sold for Hammerprice $190,000.00). No doubt Timoleon, who had been chosen by the Corinthians to lead a force to aid the Syracusans during a period of strife, could well have brought this artist-engraver along in his train (his expedition was financed by large issues of Corinthian and Corinthian-type staters so having an engraver and other mint personnel would have been sensible). ---

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