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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Sicily| ▸ |Syracuse||View Options:  |  |  |   

Syracuse, Sicily

Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysios I, c. 405 - 367 B.C.

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Dionysius I was tyrant of Syracuse. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot - cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
GS86597. Silver hemilitron, SNG ANS 301; SNG Cop 669; SNG Lloyd 1379; BMC Sicily p. 182, 237; Boehringer Münzprägungen pl. II, 19; HGC 2 1392 (R2) , VF, dark toning, light marks and corrosion, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.434 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 395 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa left, wearing drop earring, hair bound in ampyx and sphendone, no control symbol or signature; reverse four-spoked wheel, SY-PA in upper quarters, two dolphins heads downward nose to nose in lower quarters; very rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhus of Epirus, 278 - 276 B.C.

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This combination of control symbols is not listed in the references examined. The cornucopia obverse control symbol is normally paired with a fulmen (thunderbolt) on the reverse. The vertical trident reverse control symbol is normally paired with a club on the obverse.
SH73164. Bronze AE 26, Calciati II p. 325, 177 Ds 69 var. (club vice cornucompia); SNG Cop 810 var.; SNG ANS 844 ff. var.; SNG München 1333 ff. var.; HGC 2 1450 (S), VF, nice style, nice patina, broad flan, edge split, weight 11.274 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of Herakles left, clad in lion-skin headdress, cornucopia (control symbol) behind; reverse Athena Promachos advancing right, helmeted and draped, hurling javelin with raised right hand, shield in left hand, no inscription, vertical trident head upward (control symbol) behind; rare variety; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Hiketas, 287 - 278 B.C.

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This combination of obverse and reverse control symbols (thunderbolt / star) is not published in the many references examined by Forum, however, we know of about a half dozen examples. The thunderbolt obverse control is most often combined with A over a star reverse left. The star reverse control is paired with a variety of obverse controls most commonly a trophy or bucranium.
GI87381. Bronze litra, cf. Calciati II p. 303, 157 Ds 59 Rs 14; SNG Mün 1308; SNG ANS 810; SNG Morcom 783; BMC Sicily p. 204, 473, VF, dark patina, tight flan, some bumps, scratch, and mild corrosion, weight 10.719 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 287 - 278 B.C.; obverse ∆IOΣ EΛΛANIOY, beardless and laureate head of Zeus Hellanios left, thunderbolt (control symbol) behind; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (upward on left, undivided), eagle with wings open standing left atop fulmen, star (control symbol) lower left, linear border; apparently unpublished; rare variant; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 344 - 336 B.C.

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Threatened by Carthage and dominated by Hiketas, the tyrant of Leontini, Syracusans sent an appeal for help to their mother city, Corinth. By a unanimous vote Corinth selected Timoleon to set sail for Sicily with a few leading citizens of Corinth and a small troop of Greek mercenaries. After defeating Hiketas, Timoleon put order to Syracuse' affairs and established a democratic government. He repelled Carthage in several wars, ending with a treaty which divided the island. Timoleon then retired without any title or office, though he remained practically supreme. He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. When he died the citizens of Syracuse erected a monument to his memory, afterward surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.
GI87379. Bronze hemidrachm, Calciati II p. 167, 72; SNG ANS 477; SNG Cop 727; SNG München 1151; BMC Sicily p. 189, 313; Laffaille 220; HGC 2 1440 (S), VF, nice style, brown tone, porosity/light corrosion, weight 16.601 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 342 - 338 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios right; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (clockwise starting upper right), thunderbolt, eagle on right standing right with wings closed; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysius I, 405 - 367 B.C.

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"The model for the head on the obverse is derived from the facing Arethusa by Kimon. Exemplars signed by the great master are known. This issue is usually attributed to Exakestidas with several exemplars signed E. However, stylistic evidence of many exemplars reveals such substantial differences the intervention of other engravers seems to be certain, while the discovery of traces of signature not completely legible but certainly not pointing to Exakestidas confirm the assumption." - Calciati p. 59
GI79945. Bronze tetras, Calciati II p. 59 ff., 29; SNG ANS 385; SNG Cop 679; SNG München 1105; HGC 2 1432 (R1, Second Democracy, 415-405 B.C.); SNG Morcom -, VF, nice green patina, fine classical style, obverse slightly off-center, scratches and bumps, weight 1.825 g, maximum diameter 12.4 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa facing slightly left, wearing necklace; reverse octopus; $95.00 SALE |PRICE| $85.50
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and 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.
GI87391. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 361, 193 Ds 40; HGC 2 1547 (S); SNG ANS 909 ff. var. (controls); SNG Cop 843 var. (same); BMC Sicily p. 215, 565 ff. var. (same), F, dark patina, tight flan, bumps and marks, corrosion, weight 20.012 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 230 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Hieron left, beardless, conch shell (control symbol) behind; reverse IEPΩNOΣ, cavalryman prancing right, holding couched spear, no control symbols; scarce; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 212 - 133 B.C.

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Overcoming formidable resistance and the ingenious devices of Archimedes, the Roman General Marcus Claudius Marcellus took Syracuse in the summer of 212 B.C. Archimedes was killed during the attack. The plundered artworks taken back to Rome from Syracuse lit the initial spark of Greek influence on Roman culture.
GB76368. Bronze AE 15, Calciati II p. 422, 221; SNG ANS 1080; SNG Cop 895; SNG München 1463; HGC 2 1516 (R1), gVF, well centered, areas of light corrosion, die break reverse right field, weight 3.558 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 212 - 180 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left, with short hair, somewhat archaic style; reverse long torch, ΣYP−AKO/ΣI−ΩN in two divided lines across lower field; rare; $85.00 SALE |PRICE| $76.50
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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Following Heron's death, democracy was restored in 466 B.C. Similar to at Athens, the polis was governed by a council and popular assembly with an executive consisting of elected generals or strategoi. Syracuse fought against Athens 427 - 424 B.C. and again 415 - 413 B.C.; ultimately Syracuse was victorious. With further reforms by Diocles, the democratic nature of Syracuse's political structure was further strengthened.
GI94062. Bronze hemilitra, Calciati II p. 56, 24; SNG ANS 415 ff.; SNG Cop 697 ff.; HGC 2 1480 (S), aVF, dark brown patina, earthen deposits on beveled obverse edge, minor flan flaws (pits), weight 3.228 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 225o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, hoop earring, wearing ampyx, with hair bound in sphendone, laurel branch with two leaves behind; reverse dolphin swimming right above ΣYPA, inverted scallop shell below; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 212 - 133 B.C.

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This type was perhaps the last pseudo-autonomous issue of Syracuse.
RP79995. Bronze AE 19, Calciati II p. 434, 240/9 (same obverse die), SNG Morcom 838, SNG ANS 1099, SNG München 1483, Fine/Fair, obv off-center, ragged flan, weight 4.933 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 345o, Syracuse mint, c. 212 - 133 B.C.; obverse diademed, bearded male (Serapis, Poseidon or Zeus) head right; reverse ΣYPAKOCIΩN, female (Isis?) standing left, wreath (or sistrum?) in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; ex Forum (2011); scarce; $55.00 SALE |PRICE| $49.50
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Agathokles, 317 - 289 B.C.

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Although Agathocles was brutal in pursuit of power, afterward he was a mild and popular "tyrant." His grandest goal was to establish democracy as the dominant form of government for the world. He did not want his sons to succeed him as king and restored the Syracusan democracy on his death bed.
GB69177. Bronze trias, Calciati II p. 247, 118; SNG München 1255 ff.; SNG ANS 752; SNG Cop 776; BMC Sicily p. 198, 414; SGCV I 1204; HGC 2 1509 (S), aVF, smoothing, weight 1.880 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 308 - 307 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left, wearing ornamented Corinthian helmet; reverse ΣYPAK/OΣIΩN, thunderbolt; scarce; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Tudeer, L. Die Tetradrachmenprägung von Syrakus in der Periode der Signierenden Künstler. (Berlin, 1913).
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Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
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Syracuse