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HOME : Greek Coins : Archive : Sicilian Silver Tetradrachm
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Sicilian Silver Tetradrachm - C.2040
Origin: Minted in Syracuse
Circa: 420 BC to 410 BC

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Silver


Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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Description
Obverse: A Quadriga Racing to the Left, the Goddess Nike Flying Above

Reverse: The Head of the Nymph Arethusa Surrounded by Four Dolphins

In 734 B.C., the Corinthians overcame a local Sicel settlement on the island of Ortygia and established the colony of Syracuse. The island, forming the north side of the Great Harbor and with its own source of fresh water, the spring of Arethusa (named after one of the Nereid sea goddesses whose image graces the reverse of this coin), remained the citadel of Syracuse. The city, however, soon extended to the mainland, and in the mid 6th century B.C., Ortygia was connected to the mainland by a causeway. In the course of the 5th century B.C., the wealth, cultural development, and political power of Syracuse rivaled Athens itself. In 485 B.C., Gelon, the tyrant of Gela, who had gained control over most of Sicily, seized Syracuse and made it his capital. In 480 B.C., Gelon led the Greeks in a victory over the Carthaginians at Himera. Gelon's brother, who succeeded him, defeated the Etruscans in a naval battle in 474 B.C., thereby ensuring the continued dominance of Syracuse over the entire southwestern Mediterranean basin. In 415-413 B.C., Syracuse was victorious in a war with Athens. Between 410 and 397 B.C., Syracuse was again victorious over the Carthaginians and renewed its claim to supremacy in the western Mediterranean.

How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This coin is more than an artifact; it is a shining vestige of a powerful city’s ancient glory passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.
- (C.2040)

 

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