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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Sicily ▸ HimeraView Options:  |  |  |   

Himera, Sicily

Himera (Termini), on the north coast of Sicily, was an ancient Chalcidic colony from Zancle, founded in the middle of the seventh century B.C. In 409 B.C., Carthage attacked Himera. The city was unprepared; its fortifications weak. At first they were supported about 4000 auxiliaries from Syracuse, but their general, Diocles, seized with panic for the safety of Syracuse itself, abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. More than 3000 prisoners were executed by General Hannibal Mago as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C. The site has been desolate ever since. The few surviving Greeks were settled by the Carthaginians eleven kilometers west of Himera at Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese today). Thermae was taken by the Romans during the First Punic War.


Himera, Sicily, 430 - 420 B.C.

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The style of the early coinage of Himera varied greatly. This coin has the most cartoon-like style. Calciati describes the beveled flan as a "truncated cone."
SH68313. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 32, 18; SNG Cop 315; SNG ANS 181; SNG Morcom 596; HGC 2 467 (R1), VF, smoothing, weight 11.965 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 135o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, 430 - 420 B.C.; obverse facing gorgoneion with cartoon-like style, protruding tongue, curly hair with no part, almond eyes, and pellet nostrils; reverse three pellets, within round incuse; rare; SOLD


Himera, Sicily, c. 430 - 420 B.C.

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Himera was a Chalcidic colony founded from Zancle on the north coast of Sicily in mid-seventh century B.C. Carthage attacked in 409 B.C. At first Syracuse supported them with 4000 auxiliaries, but their general panicked for the safety of Syracuse itself abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. General Hannibal Mago executed more than 3000 prisoners as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at Himera in 480 B.C. The site has been desolate ever since. The few surviving Greeks were settled by the Carthaginians eleven kilometers west of Himera at Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese today). Thermae was taken by the Romans during the First Punic War.
SH19458. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I Group III, Class III, p. 29, 13; SNG ANS 179, gVF, weight 18.409 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 430 - 420 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion); face ovoid horizontally on ample flan, almond-shaped eyes, well modeled nose, hair in large curls, protruding tongue, showing teeth, dot border; reverse six pellets (mark of value), in two columns of three, in shallow round incuse, rounded edges; ex-Vecchi Auction #12, 3/93, #147; SOLD


Thermae Himerenses, Sicily, c. Late 2nd - Early 1st Century B.C.

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The poet Tisias, better known as Stesichorus (meaning 'choral master'), lived in Himera. When the Carthaginians destroyed Himera in 409 B.C., most of the survivors settled seven miles away at Thermae Himerenses. Even after the change of location and into the Roman period they considered Tisias their most famous citizen (or perhaps second to Agathokles the tyrant of Syracusan who was born at Thermae).

Calciati notes this type is rare and especially rare in better condition because the type, along with many Sicilian issues of the Roman period, was struck with low quality metal highly susceptible to corrosion.
GB85695. Bronze AE 26, Calciati I p. 120, 18; BMC Sicily p. 84, 9; HGC 2 1616 (R2); SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG München -; SNG Morcom -, VF, green patina, porosity, light corrosion, reverse a little off center, weight 12.564 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 90o, Thermai Himeraiai (Termini Imerese, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. late 2nd - early 1st Century B.C.; obverse turreted and veiled head of Tyche right, cornucopia behind; reverse ΘEPMITAN IMEPAIΩN, The poet Tisias (Stesichoros) standing right, long staff leaning against his right shoulder, with his right hand he is inscribing a poem on a wax tablet held in his left hand; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 2 (2 Nov 2013), lot 28; very rare; SOLD


Himera, Sicily, c. 430 - 420 B.C.

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Himera was a Chalcidic colony founded from Zancle on the north coast of Sicily in mid-seventh century B.C. Carthage attacked in 409 B.C. At first Syracuse supported them with 4000 auxiliaries, but their general panicked for the safety of Syracuse itself abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. General Hannibal Mago executed more than 3000 prisoners as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at Himera in 480 B.C. The site has been desolate ever since. The few surviving Greeks were settled by the Carthaginians eleven kilometers west of Himera at Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese today). Thermae was taken by the Romans during the First Punic War.
SH73532. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I Group III, Class 5, p. 32, 20; SNG ANS 179, VF, thick truncated-conic flan (usual for the type), smoothed, weight 26.468 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 0o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 430 - 420 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), hair in large curls, crude execution, dot border; reverse six pellets (mark of value), in two columns of three, within shallow round incuse; SOLD


Himera, Sicily, 420 - 409 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., Carthage attacked Himera. The city was unprepared; its fortifications weak. At first they were supported about 4000 auxiliaries from Syracuse, but their general, Diocles, seized with panic for the safety of Syracuse itself, abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. More than 3000 prisoners were put to death by General Hannibal Mago as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.
GB86306. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 41, 27; SNG Cop 318, SNG München 365; SNG ANS 184 var. (grasshopper control), gVF, dark patina, bumps and scratches, areas of light corrosion, earthen deposits, a little off center, weight 6.039 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 90o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 409 B.C.; obverse Pan on a goat prancing right, nude but for chlamys fluttering in the wind behind, preparing to blow on conch in right, thyrsus in left over shoulder, Corinthian helmet (control symbol) below; reverse HIMEPAION, Nike flying left, apluster with dangling fillets in extended right, fold of long chiton in left, six pellets (mark of value) left below arm; SOLD


Thermae Himerenses, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 252 - 133 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians under the command of Hannibal, conquered Himera, crucified three hundred of its leading men and obliterated the town. The site has been desolate ever since. The few surviving Greeks were settled by the Carthaginians eleven kilometers west of Himera at Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese today). Thermae was taken by the Romans during the First Punic War.
GB35580. Bronze AE 20, Calciati I p. 120, 20/1; SNG ANS 193; SNG Cop 324; SNG München 374; SNG Morcom 604; BMC Sicily p. 84, 7; HGC 2 1622 (R3); SGCV I 1114, Choice gVF, weight 6.905 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Thermai Himeraiai (Termini Imerese, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 252 - 133 B.C.; obverse bearded bust of Herakles right, wearing lion skin, club at shoulder; reverse ΘEPMITAN, turreted female figure standing left, wearing chiton and peplos, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; beautiful patina, ex CNG, much nicer than any of the 15 examples in Calciati!; very rare; SOLD


Himera, Sicily, 415 - 408 B.C.

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Hoover lists this type only as R1 but it is rare enough that it is missing from ANS and Copenhagen, and Calciati does not include a photo.
GB69186. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 44, 35 mv 1; Boehringer Himera p. 33 and pl. VII, 8; SNG Morcom 600; HGC 2 480 (R1); SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -, gVF, edge chip, weight 3.613 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 0o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, 415- 408 B.C.; obverse IM-E, head of nymph Himera left, hair bound in ampyx and sphendone, six pellets before; reverse six pellets in and around a rosette (or star with five rays); all within laurel wreath; very rare; SOLD


Himera, Sicily, c. 425 - 409 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., Carthage attacked Himera. The city was unprepared; its fortifications weak. At first they were supported about 4000 auxiliaries from Syracuse, but their general, Diocles, seized with panic for the safety of Syracuse itself, abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. More than 3000 prisoners were put to death by General Hannibal Mago as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.
GB81892. Bronze hexas, Calciati I p. 43, 34; HGC 2 478; SNG Cop 319; Virzi 1043; SNG ANS -; SNG Lloyd -, VF, weight 2.043 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 180o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 425 - 409 B.C.; obverse Pan riding goat springing left, blowing into conch shell in his right hand, cradling lagobolon in left arm, fish left below; reverse IMEPAI-ON, Nike flying left, aphlaston in extended right hand, hem of chiton in left; two pellets (mark of value) to left; IMERAI-ON (N reversed) starting counterclockwise at 9:00, divided, and ending under wing; very rare; SOLD


Himera, Sicily, c. 470 - 450 B.C.

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Himera was a Chalcidic colony founded from Zancle on the north coast of Sicily in mid-seventh century B.C. Carthage attacked in 409 B.C. At first Syracuse supported them with 4000 auxiliaries, but their general panicked for the safety of Syracuse itself abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. General Hannibal Mago executed more than 3000 prisoners as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at Himera in 480 B.C. The site has been desolate ever since. The few surviving Greeks were settled by the Carthaginians eleven kilometers west of Himera at Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese today). Thermae was taken by the Romans during the First Punic War.
GS84998. Silver obol, SNG Cop 312; SNG München 355; SNG Lloyd 1028; BMC Sicily p. 81, 47; HGC 2 447 (R1); SNG ANS -; Klein -; Winterthur I -, F/VF, well centered and struck, etched surfaces, weight 0.650 g, maximum diameter 10.6 mm, die axis 270o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 470 - 450 B.C.; obverse bearded male (Kronos?) head right, wearing tainia (hair band); reverse HIMEPA (clockwise starting below, retrograde), Corinthian helmet right, no crest, within shallow incuse; rare; SOLD


Himera, Sicily, c. 530 - 520 B.C.

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After Terillus, tyrant of Himera, was removed, he requested aid from Carthage. Hamilcar landed at Carthagian Panormus with an army of 300,000 men. Himera was just outside the eastern boundary of the Carthaginian-controlled west Sicily, very near Panormus. Himera held its defenses until Gelon of Syracuse arrived with a smaller Greek army. Despite the numerical inferiority, the Greeks defeated the Carthaginians with such slaughter that the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C. was regarded by the Greeks of Sicily as worthy of comparison with the contemporary victory of Salamis. A tradition grew, that both triumphs were achieved on the very same day. The tradition was probably fiction, but the battle did cripple Carthage's power in Sicily for decades.Battle of Himera
GI90442. Silver litra, Kraay Himera pl. 15, 284; SNG ANS 145; SNG Cop 297; cf. BMC Sicily p. 76, 11 (hen); HGC 2 426 (R1, obol, hen); SNG München -, VF, toned, etched surfaces, weight 0.778 g, maximum diameter 12.5 mm, die axis 315o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 530 - 520 B.C.; obverse cock left; reverse square millsail pattern; rare; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES

Arnold-Biucchi, C. "La monetazione d'argento di Himera classica. I tetradrammi" in Quaderni Ticinesi XVII (1988).
Bloesch, H. Griechische Münzen In Winterthur, Vol. 1. Spain, Gaul, Italy, Sicily, Moesia, Dacia, Sarmatia, Thrace, and Macedonia. (Winterthur, 1987).
Boehringer, C. "Himera im IV. Jahrhundert v. Chr." in Kraay-Mørkholm Essays.
Calciati, R. Corpus Nummorum Siculorum. The Bronze Coinage, Vol. I. (Milan, 1983).
Kraay, C.M. The Archaic Coinage of Himera. (Naples, 1984).
Gabrici, E. La monetazione del bronzo nella Sicila antica. (Palermo, 1927).
Gabrici, E. Topographia E Numismatica Dell' Antica Imera (E di Terme). (Naples, 1894).
Gutman. F & W. Schwabacher. "Tetradrachmen und Didrachmen von Himera (472-409 v Chr)" in MBNG 47. (1929).
Hoover, O.D. Handbook of Coins of Sicily (including Lipara), Civic, Royal, Siculo-Punic, and Romano-Sicilian Issues, Sixth to First Centuries BC. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Poole, R.S. ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Sicily. (London, 1876).
Rizzo, G.E. Monete greche della Sicilia. (Rome, 1946).
Salinas, A. Le monete delle antiche città di Sicilia descritte e illustrate da Antonino Salinas. (Palermo, 1871).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 1: Italy - Sicily. (West Milford, NJ, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 5: Sikelia. (Berlin, 1977).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 2: Sicily - Thrace. (London, 1947).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume X, John Morcom Collection. (Oxford, 1995).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, USA, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 4: Sicily 2 (Galaria - Styella). (New York, 1977).
Westermark, U. "Himera. The Coins of Akragantine Type 2" in Travaux Le Rider.

Catalog current as of Monday, May 20, 2019.
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Himera