Siris and Pyxus
Nomos circa 520, AR 8.15 g. MON retrograde Bull standing l., head reverted; in exergue, MIPI retrograde. Rev. OEM The same type incuse to r.; in exergue, ΠV+. Traité I, 2085 and pl. LXVII, 3. Perret XVI (this coin). Jameson 344 (this coin). Mangieri D 10 (this coin). Gulbenkian 83. SNG ANS 816. Historia Numorum Italy 1725.
Very rare and undoubtedly among the finest specimens known. Well struck on a
full flan and with a superb old cabinet tone. Extremely fine
Ex Sotheby’s Wilkinson & Hodge 15 June 1896, Bunbury, 150; Leu 42, 1987, 52; Leu 81, 2001, 24 and NAC 59, 2011, 503 sales. From the Jameson and Evans collections.
This nomos bears witness to the alliance between "Sirinos" and "Pyx" (the two legends appear engraved in the centre of the obverse of the coin and in the lower quadrant on the reverse respectively). The word "Sirinos" was thought at one time to be the adjective relating to Siri, the city on the Ionian coast which was well known for its wealth and which was destroyed by the coalition of Sybaris, Metapontum and Croton in the years 570-560. Paola Zancani Montuoro, however, believes that the word in question is a noun and, for a variety of reasons, argues that a city called "Sirinos" (of the Sirini, a population from Lucania of which Pliny the Elder speaks in his "Naturalis historia" III 15, 97) existed and was situated about 30 km from Policastro. It has probably been identified in the ruins of a vast inhabited area on a rocky peak which stretches along the valley of Lauria near Rivello and which is still known as "The City". Policastro Bussentino is the modern name for "Pyx" (Pyxoes), the ancient Lucanian city (on the eponymous bay of Tirreno, now known as the gulf of Policastro, in the province of Salerno). The alliance of the two cities, based on commerce, testifies to Pixunte's importance for Sybari's commercial activity in the VI century (bear in mind that literary sources date its foundation by Micitus to 471). The bull looking backwards, and the coin's weight, are typical of Sybaritic coins.
|Price realized||80'000 CHF|
|Starting price||40'000 CHF|