Obverse: Standing Eagle Facing Left
Akragas claimed the legendary Daedalus as its
founder, but in fact the city seems to have been
established by a group of Rhodian and Cretan
colonists from the city of Gela at ca. 582 B.C.
The settlers named the city after the river along
its eastern side. Under the tyrant Phalaris, ca.
570 B.C., the city began to expand its territory
and by the end of the reign of Theron, a century
later, the city-state had reached the height of its
military and political power. Theron had led the
city to victory over the Carthaginians in 480 B.C.
and initiated a major building program in
Akragas that included an extensive water system
designed by the architect Phaiax. The city
continued to prosper until the end of the 5th
century B.C. In 406, after a siege of eight
months, Akragas was conquered and completely
destroyed by Carthage.
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 currency in
the age we live or an artifact 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 city-state’s dwindling independence
passed from the hands of civilization to
civilization, from generation to generation.