Sicily, Siculo-Punic (c. 320-300 BC)
Obverse: Head of Herakles-Melqart facing right, wearing a lion-skin headdress.
Reverse: Horse’s head facing left, palm tree with two clusters of dates behind, Punic legend ‘MMHNT’ below.
(De Luynes 1457; Jenkins Punic Sicily IV, 400).
About Extremely Fine.
Privately purchased from Creusy in 2009.
This coin is sold with a French export license.
While the horse and palm tree appear as primary motifs on Carthaginian coins, we might go one step further in pinpointing the signifi cance of the horse’s head in particular, which we see on many coin types from Punic Sicily. The Roman poet, Virgil, recounts a myth that the founder of Carthage, Dido, discovered a horse’s head buried on the spot of the city’s founding. In addition, Stephanus tells us that Carthage was also known in Punic as KAKKABH, which translates to ‘Horse’s Head’. It seems likely that the appearance of the horse’s head on the coins struck in Carthaginian-occupied Sicily was yet another att empt at establishing control in the minds of the island’s occupants.