An elegant depiction of the 'Rape of Ganymede'
PHRYGIA. Cotiaeum. Pseudo-autonomous issue, circa 200-230s. Diassarion (Bronze, 22 mm, 6.43 g, 7 h). ΔΗ - ΜΟC Bearded head of Demos to right, with light drapery over his far shoulder. Rev. Β / ΚΟΤ - ΙΑ/ΕΩ - Ν Ganymede, borne away by a large eagle (= Zeus) with spread wings who clasps him from behind, standing left, nude but for his Phrygian cap, holding a lagobolon in his left hand and raising his right above him to stroke the eagle's beak. Martin, Demos et al. Kotiaion 4.1 = SNG Copenhagen 315 (same dies, but B omitted or misread as K). Very rare and with a most interesting mythological scene on the reverse. Dark brown patina. About extremely fine.
From an English collection, originally acquired prior to circa 2000.
The tale of Zeus's infatuation with the Trojan shepherd Ganymede is well-known: seeing him, and being transfixed by his beauty, Zeus transformed himself into an eagle and carried the youth off from his flocks on Mt. Ida to Mt. Olympus. The scene is found on a number of Roman Provincial issues, primarily from Ilium and Dardanos in the Troad, but none of them show precisely this version: here Ganymede is standing straightly at attention with his legs together, still holding his hunter's lagobolon and wearing his Phyrgian cap, but rather affectionally stroking the eagle's beak. Presumably Ganymede must have realized that his fate was not to be the same as that of the usual member of his flock when carried off by an eagle!
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