C. Publicius. Rome, c. 80 BC

C. Publicius. Rome, c. 80 BC


AR Denarius, 3.90g (17mm, 3h). Head of Roma with a Lucanian helmet / Hercules wrestling with the Nemean lion to right moneyer’s name; to left, bow case and below mace

Pedigree: From the stock of Spink & Son, unknown purchase date (comes with ticket)

References: Crawford 380/1; Sydenham 768

Grade: Fantastic reverse strike where every detail is sharp, obverse slightly off-center. EF/Mint State  (rr1061)

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The reverse of this coin reflects on one of the labors of Hercules, of which there were twelve. After killing his wife and children, Hercules went to the Oracle at Delphi and asked the god Apollo for advice. The oracle told Hercules to serve the King of Mycenae, Eurystheus, for 12 years. During those 12 years, Hercules was sent to accomplish 12 different feats of labor. This first was the kill the Nemean lion. Myth told of a cave in which men were sent to save a woman in distress. Once inside the “woman” would turn into a lion and kill the rescuer. After Hercules attempted to kill the lion with bow and arrow he realized the the lion’s mane was impenetrable. He finally strangled the lion to death.