Sicily, Syracuse. Deinomenid Tyranny. Struck under Hieron I, c. 478-475. Syracuse, c. 485-466 BC

Sicily, Syracuse. Deinomenid Tyranny. Struck under Hieron I, c. 478-475. Syracuse, c. 485-466 BC

2,750.00

AR Tetradrachm, 17.24g (23mm, 3h). Charioteer driving a quadriga right, victory above, crowning the horses / Head of Arethusa facing right, wearing a pearl diadem; four dolphins swiming around ΣYPΑΚΟΣΙΟΝ around head.

Pedigree: Purchased from Münzen und Medaillen A.G., Basel (original ticket included)

References: Boehringer group VIIIb, 144 (O64/R99); SNG ANS 40; McClean 2598; Ward 248

Grade: Charioteer is half off flan. Good strike with toned surfaces. Overall normal wear and some visible die breaks on both sides. Good VF (gk1237)

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From c. 485-466 BC Syracuse was ruled by tyrants starting with Gelon. Gelon took the bold step to move his capital from Gela to the less significant Syracuse, thereby producing the most powerful epicenter of the Sicilian Greek city states. The motif of a charioteer on the obverse and a beautiful Arethusa on the reverse became the signature theme of the series.

On this early tetradrachm the charioteer is guiding a slow walking quadriga. Eventually the quadriga would become an unwieldy group of horses with their heads turned in different directions. The head of Arethusa is archaic and stiff looking. She transforms into a classically beautiful representation of the goddess Arethusa. The coinage of Syracuse maintained this imagery for over 100 years and was adopted by several Greek city states.