Silver double shekel of Carthage


British Museum

British Museum

The city of Carthage was founded by Phoenician settlers and grew to be the main power - commercial and military - in much of North Africa, Sicily and Spain. Its coinage began in the late fifth century BC in silver, with gold, electrum and bronze following later. The designs employed for the coinage drew for the most part on a small stock of images - a goddess, a horse, a palm tree - to display civic, ethnic and religious identity.An exception to this was the series of coins issued by the great Barcid family in Spain during the latter part of the third century BC. During this period Carthage was twice at war with the growing Italian power of Rome, most famously under the great Barcid general Hannibal. This silver coin was probably produced in about 230 BC. The Punic (Carthaginian) god Melqart is shown on the obverse (front) of the coin. He is depicted resembling the Greek hero Herakles with a club over his shoulder. On the reverse is a war elephant, as used by Hannibal in his great campaign against Rome.

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  • Title: Silver double shekel of Carthage
  • Date Created: -237/-209
  • Physical Dimensions: Weight: 14.610g; Diameter: 25.00mm; Die-axis: 11.00oc
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Subject: elephant; classical deity
  • Registration number: 1911,0702.1
  • Production place: Minted in Spain
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Valencia
  • Period/culture: Punic
  • Material: silver
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Vives, Antonio