Lucania, Sybaris. c. 530-510 BC

Lucania, Sybaris. c. 530-510 BC


AR Stater, 6.94g (29mm, 12h). Bull standing left, head right; VM in exergue / Incuse bull standing right, head left. 

References:  HN Italy 1729; SNG ANS 828-44

Grade:  Near EF  (gk1142)

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Sybaris was an Achaean colony located on the southern coast of Italy on the gulf of Tarentum. The colony was among the first in the Greek mainland to strike their own coinage. The lovely incuse coinage of Bruttium and Lucania had a marked stylistic difference from that of its neighbor Athens. The reverse, an incuse and artistic in style, was especially creative in a time when incuse types could be rather crude. The thin silver discs of metal were also far different than that of the other coins being struck around the Greek world in the 6th century BC.

Sybaris has become a modern definition of luxury and relaxation. To be sure, ancient Sybaris was known for its wealth and luxury of its inhabitants. One of their neighbors, Croton, destroyed Sybaris twice (in 510 and 488 BC). This coin was struck during its most prosperous period.