Rare bronze semis, Carteia, Spain, Roman Republican, ca.150-100 BC

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Laureate head of Jupiter right; S behind / Q PEDECAI - CARTEIA, Dolphin right. 20mmx25mm, 7.70 grams. Carteia mint. SNG BM Spain 1693; CNH pg. 414, 20.

Carteia was a Phoenician and Roman town at the head of the Bay of Gibraltar in Spain. It was established at the most northerly point of the bay, about halfway between the modern cities of Algeciras and Gibraltar, overlooking the sea on elevated ground at the confluence of two rivers. According to Strabo, it was founded around 940 BC as the trading settlement of Kʿrt (meaning "city" in the Phoenician language; compare Carthage and Cartagena). The area had much to offer a trader; the hinterland behind Carteia, in the modern south of Andalusia, was rich in wood, cereals, oranges, lemons, lead, iron, copper and silver. Dyes were another much sought-after commodity, especially those from the murex shellfish, used to make the prized Tyrian purple. The town's strategic location meant that it played a significant role in the wars between Carthage and the Roman Republic in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. It may have been the site of Hamilcar's landing with his army and elephants in 237 BC, and in 206 BC the Carthaginian admiral Adherbal retreated there with the remnants of his fleet after being defeated by Gaius Laelius in the Battle of Carteia. Around 190 BC, the town was captured by the Romans.