Ancient Lucania, located in southern Italy, was an area rich in history and culture during ancient times. This region, primarily inhabited by the Lucani, an Oscan-speaking people, became a significant site in ancient Greek and Roman history.
Heraclea, also known as Heracleia or Herakleia, was one of the most important cities in ancient Lucania. Founded in the mid-4th century BC, likely by the Tarentines, a Greek colony, Heraclea quickly became prominent. It is famously known for the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BC, where the Roman Republic and the Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus first clashed, marking a significant event in Roman and Greek history.
The coins from ancient Lucania and Heraclea are of particular historical interest. These coins reflect the art, culture, and economy of the time. Lucanian coins often featured impressive designs, including images of local deities and mythological figures, reflecting the region’s Greek influence. The coins from Heraclea are especially noteworthy for their artistic quality. They typically bore the image of Heracles, the city’s patron god, and other symbols representing the city’s heritage and status.
Studying these coins provides valuable insights into the economic practices, artistic trends, and cultural interchange between the Greek and Italic worlds in ancient times. They are essential artifacts for understanding the history and culture of ancient Lucania and Heraclea.
Obverse: Head of Athena, wearing an Attic helmet decorated with Scylla hurling stone.
Reverse: Heracles strangling the Nemean lion between his feet.
Diameter: 23.5 mm
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