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Persephone was the embodiment of the Earth's fertility, Queen of the Underworld, daughter of Demeter and Zeus and the consort of Hades.
Akrai, Sicily, c. 211 - 80 B.C.
Akrai was a small colony founded by Syracuse in 664 B.C. to secure the inland road to Gela. Constructed on the peak of a hill, Akrai was difficult to attack and ideal for watching the surrounding territory. Loyal to Syracuse, it nevertheless had administrative and military autonomy. Thanks to its strategic position, the city achieved great prosperity, peaking during the reign of Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C. Its coinage was only issued after the fall of Syracuse in 211 B.C. when it became part of the Roman province Acre. The city continued to be under Roman rule into the Byzantine period.GI79952. Bronze AE 23, SNG ANS 902; SNG Cop 9; Calciati III p. 37, 1 var. (KP ligate); BMC Sicily p. 2, 1 var. (same); HGC 2 180 (S) var. (same); SNG Morcom -, aF, glossy lime-green patina, scratches, uneven strike, weight 7.517 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Akrai (Palazzolo Acreide, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 210 - 80 B.C.; obversehead of Persephone right, hair rolled and wreathed with barley; reverse AK-P-AIΩN, Demeter standing left, wearing long chiton and peplos, torch in right hand, scepter in left hand; rare; $110.00 (€93.50)
Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, c. 275 - 215 B.C.
Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 - 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity. Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.GB85340. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 347, 191; BMC Sicily p. 219, 620; SNG ANS 578 (Agathokles); SNG München 1225 (same); HGC 2 1469 (S); SNG Cop 865 var. (IA above bull), F, nice style, dark green patina, tight flan, weight 5.293 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 275 - 269 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Kore-Persephone left, wearing earrings and necklace, hair rolled and bound with barley wreath, poppy head behind neck; reverse bull butting left, club over I (magistrate initial) above, IE (magistrate initials) in exergue; $65.00 (€55.25)
Thurium (Thurioi), Lucania, Italy, 280 - 213 B.C.
Beautiful Persephone lived a peaceful life far away from the other deities, a goddess within Nature herself before the days of planting seeds and nurturing plants. She was innocently picking flowers when Hades, god of the Underworld, burst through a cleft in the earth and abducted her. While Demeter searched desperately for her daughter she neglected the earth and caused nothing to grow. Zeus, pressed by the cries of hungry people, determined to force Hades to return Persephone. However, Hades had tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds, and because anyone who consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there, she is forced return to the underworld for a period each year. Explaining the seasons, when Demeter and her daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color, but for the months each year when Persephone returns to the underworld, the earth becomes barren.GI84868. Bronze AE 17, SNG Cop 1513, HN Italy 1932, SNG ANS -, SNG München -, BMC Italy -, VF, centered on a tight flan, encrustation, corrosion, weight 3.567 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 180o, Thourioi mint, 280 - 213 B.C.; obverse ΘOYPIA, head of Kore Persephone (or Demeter) left, wreathed in grain; reverse bull butting left, IΣTI above, fish left in exergue; ex Certified Coin Exchange; rare; $60.00 (€51.00)
Syracuse, Sicily, Agathocles, 317 - 289 B.C.
With an army of mercenaries, through deceit, and after banishing or murdering some 10,000 citizens, Agathocles made himself master of Syracuse and later most of Sicily. Machiavelli wrote of him, "It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, and irreligious" and cited him as an example of "those who by their crimes come to be princes." According to the historian Justin, very early in life Agathocles parlayed his remarkable beauty into a career as a prostitute, first for men, and later, after puberty, for women, and then made a living by robbery before becoming a soldier and marrying a rich widow. GI83555. Bronze AE 17, Calciati II p. 233, 104; SNG Cop 761; SNG ANS 610; SNG München 1245; HGC 2 1989; SNG Tüb -; SNG Morcom -, VF, nice style, dark green patina, pitting, weight 3.57 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 317 - 310 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Kore-Persephone left, wearing earring and necklace, hair rolled and wreathed with barley, vertical astragalos (control symbol) behind neck; reverse bull butting left, ax (control symbol) above, ΣΩ (magistrate initials) in exergue; $45.00 (€38.25)