Lucania, Velia - AR Didrachm - Datę: Circa 440-400 BCE

Denomination: AR didrachm

Mint: Lucania

Date: Circa 440-400 BCE

Mount: Sterling Silver

Grade: NGC 6330718-004 Choice Fine

Description: Obverse:Head of Athena left, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with Pegasus left; Φ behind neck / YEΛHTΩN. Reverse: Lion attacking stag to left; Λ below. Cf. HN Italy 1318 (field marks). 

History: Attractive dark toning Lucanian coins were minted in the ancient region of Lucania, which is located in what is now southern Italy. Lucania was inhabited by various Italic tribes and later came under Greek influence. The coinage of Lucania reflects its interactions with neighboring Greek colonies and the broader Mediterranean world. As Lucanian cities developed their own urban centers and economic networks, their coinage began to reflect local identity and cultural influences more prominently.

Lucanian coins from the 4th century BC onwards often bore the names or symbols of Lucanian cities, such as Heraclea, Sybaris, or Poseidonia (Paestum). These coins served not only as a means of exchange but also as a way for cities to assert their autonomy and promote their local identity. During the Hellenistic period, Lucania came under the influence of various external powers, including the Greek kingdoms of Macedonia and the Hellenistic kingdoms that emerged after the conquests of Alexander the Great. This period saw a continuation of coinage in Lucania, with coins sometimes featuring portraits of Hellenistic rulers or symbols associated with these kingdoms. With the eventual Roman conquest of Lucania in the 3rd century BC, the production of local coinage declined as Lucanian cities became integrated into the Roman monetary system. However, Lucanian coinage left a lasting legacy, providing valuable insights into the region’s history, economy, and cultural exchanges during antiquity. These coins are highly sought after by collectors.