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

Katana, Sicily

Catania, on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, has had a long and eventful history, having been founded in the 8th century B.C. As observed by Strabo, the location of Catania at the foot of Mount Etna has been both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, violent outbursts of the volcano throughout history have destroyed large parts of the city, on the other hand the volcanic ashes yield fertile soil, especially suited for the growth of vines. Katane was captured by Dionysios of Syracuse in 403 B.C., who sold the population into slavery and resettled the city with Campanian mercenaries. The city submitted to Rome during the First Punic war.


Katane, Sicily, c. 212 - 50 B.C.

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In 212 B.C., after a two-year siege, despite defenses designed by the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes, the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus forced his way into Syracuse. Although Marcellus wished to spare the Syracusans, he was unable to stop his soldiers from sacking the city. Archimedes was killed. Marcellus carried off the art treasures of Syracuse to Rome, the first recorded instance of a practice which was to become common.
GB82650. Bronze two chalkoi, Calciati III p. 110, 25; SNG ANS 1278; SNG Morcom 563; HGC 2 612 (R1); BMC Sicily p. 51, 65 corr.; SNG Cop -, aVF, green patina, scratches, porous, weight 3.768 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 212 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse KATA/NAIΩN, Aphrodite Hyblaia (or Isis?) standing right, wearing kalathos on head, holding dove in extended right, II (2 chalkoi) right; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Katane, Sicily, c. 216 - 206 B.C.

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As observed by Strabo the location of Katane at the foot of Mount Etna on the east coast of Sicily was both a source of benefits and of evils. On the one hand, the violent outbursts of the volcano from time to time desolated great parts of the city's territory. On the other, the volcanic ashes produced fertile soil, especially suitable for the growth of vines. (Strab. vi. p. 269.).
GI85823. Bronze chalkous, Calciati III p. 109, 23; SNG ANS 1275; HGC 2 627 (R2), F, dark blue-green patina, obverse a little off center, weight 1.369 g, maximum diameter 12.7 mm, die axis 135o, Katane mint, c. 216/5 - 206 B.C.; obverse jugate busts right of Serapis (nearer), laureate and wearing atef crown, and Isis, wearing her crown with horns, orb, and plumes; reverse KATA-NAIΩN (starting upward on left, ending upward on right), two ears of barley, with leaves; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; very rare; $70.00 (€59.50)
 


Katane, Sicily, c. 405 - 402 B.C.

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The oldest, wisest and most drunken of the followers of Dionysus, Silenos was also one of the young god's tutors. He was usually so drunk that he had to be supported by satyrs or carried by a donkey. When intoxicated, Silenus was said to possess special knowledge and the power of prophecy. The Phrygian King Midas was eager to learn from Silenus and caught the old man by lacing a fountain from which Silenus often drank. Silenus shared with the king a pessimistic philosophy: That the best thing for a man is not to be born, and if already born, to die as soon as possible. An alternative story was that when lost and wandering in Phrygia, Silenus was rescued by peasants and taken to King Midas, who treated him kindly. In return for Midas' hospitality, Silenus told him some tales and Midas, enchanted by Silenus’ fictions, entertained him for five days and nights. Dionysus offered Midas a reward for his kindness towards Silenus, and Midas chose the power of turning everything he touched into gold.
GI84579. Silver drachm, Jameson 554 (dies); SNG ANS III 1262; Mirone 103; BMC Sicily p. 49, 43; HGC 2 579 (R2); SNG Cop -, VF, extraordinary style from the period of finest art, high relief obverse, die wear, flan flaw (some restoration?) on the reverse, weight 3.753 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 0o, Katane mint, c. 405 - 402 B.C.; obverse facing head of Silenos, bald, bearded, donkey ears; reverse KATANAIΩN, head of Apollo left wearing taenia, olive leaf and berry behind, all within a shallow circular incuse; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 224 (13 Oct 2014), lot 54; rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 19, 2018.
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Katane