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Live auction Sunday 29 August from 9:30 am.
The Herakliskos Drakonopnigon
Lot # 56
AR Diobol, c. 390 BC.
Head of Persephone right, hair bound in ampyx and sphendone .
The Herakliskos Drakonopnigon ('Little Herakles the Snake Strangler') nude, crouching facing on rock, head left, strangling a serpent in each hand; to right, KPO.
HN Italy -; SNG ANS -; BMC -.
Very rare and in excellent condition for issue. Nicely toned
On the night that Herakles was to be born, Hera, knowing of her husband Zeus' adultery with the mortal Alkmene, persuaded Zeus to swear an oath that the child born that night to a member of the House of Perseus would be High King. Hera did this knowing that while Herakles was to be born a descendant of Perseus, so too was Eurystheos, son of Sthenelos. Once the oath was sworn, Hera hurried to Alkmene's dwelling and slowed the birth of Herakles by forcing Ilithyia, goddess of childbirth, to sit cross-legged with her clothing tied in knots, thereby causing Herakles to be trapped in the womb. Meanwhile, Hera caused Eurystheos to be born prematurely, making him High King in place of Herakles. She would have permanently delayed Herakles' birth had she not been foiled by Galanthis, Alkmene's servant, who lied to Ilithyia, saying that Alkmene had already delivered the baby. Upon hearing this, she jumped in surprise, untying the knots and thus allowing Alkmene to give birth to Herakles. Having failed to prevent his birth, Hera sent two serpents to kill the baby Herakles as he lay in his cot. While his twin brother Iphikles screamed in terror, Herakles throttled the snakes, one in each hand, and was found by his nurse playing with their limp bodies as if they were toys.
(Karweise, NC 140, 1980, pp. 1-27).
Lot closed on: 2021-08-29 09:00:00 Roma time
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