Sicily. Syracuse. Agathokles. 317-289 BC

Sicily. Syracuse. Agathokles. 317-289 BC


AR Stater, 8.46g (21mm, 9h). Head of Athena to right, wearing Corinthian helmet decorated with griffin / ΣYP-AK-OΣIΩ-N Pegasus flying left; below, triskeles running left.

Pedigree: Ex Swiss collection, c. 1990’s

References: Calciati 9. SNG ANS 554-6

Grade: A lustrous example with wonderful iridescent toning. The obverse struck slightly off center, otherwise, EF (gk1241)

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Agathokles was a tyrant of Syracuse. Tyrants in ancient Greek times were not the same as what we view the reckless and unfeeling tyrants of today. A tyrant was simply a person that seized power unconstitutionally or inherited such power.

Agathokles served with distinction in the army and was banished twice for attempting to overthrow the oligarchic government at the time.  In 317 BC, he returned with a vengeance with an army, killed about 10,000 citizens and placed himself as King of Syracuse. The first campaigns that Agathokles waged successfully brought other city states in Sicily under his control. Later he unsuccessfully waged war on the Carthaginians, although he was able to secure a peace agreement that secured some of the land in Syracuse to remain under his control. Family quarrels surrounding his successors caused Agathokles to restore liberty among Syracusans.