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

Syracuse, Sicily

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

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reigns in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stack’s sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $2520.00 (€2142.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron, c. 478 - 466 B.C.

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From the height of Syracuse preeminence amongst the Sicilian Greeks, shortly after the great victory over the Carthaginian invaders at Himera in 480 B.C.
SH86308. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series X, 229 (V102/R155); HGC 2, 1306; Bement 451; Jameson 744; McClean 2611 (all from the same dies)., gVF, well centered, toned, obverse struck with a worn die, some marks and scratches, weight 17.105 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 478 - 475 B.C.; obverse slow quadriga driven right by male charioteer holding goad, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣYP-AKO-ΣI-ON (beginning 3:30, 1st Σ reversed), head of Arethusa right, hair turned up behind under diadem of beads, wearing bead necklace, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; ex Numismatica Ars Classica auction 59 (4 Apr 2011), lot 1571; $1440.00 (€1224.00)
 


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

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References disagree on the date of this type. Dates range from the rule of Hieron II beginning in 275 B.C. to the end of the 5th Republic in 212 B.C.
GS86619. Silver 2 1/2 litrae, SNG Cop 882, SNG ANS 903, SNG München 1439, HGC 2 420 (R2) corr., BMC Sicily -, VF, well centered, toned, light bumps and marks, ethnic weakly struck, weight 2.229 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 216 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIOI, Isis standing facing, looking up to heaven, veil billowing out behind around head, scroll in right hand, filleted palm frond in left hand, A upper right; very rare; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


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.
GI83514. 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, green patina, edges earthen encrusted, cleaning marks, reverse double struck, weight 15.872 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 342 - 338 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ (clockwise starting upper right), laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios right; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (clockwise starting upper right), vertical thunderbolt, eagle on right standing right with wings closed; $360.00 (€306.00)
 


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; $340.00 (€289.00)
 


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.
GB82733. Bronze AE 27, Calciati II 195 Ds 59 R1 8/1; BMC Sicily 582; SNG Fitz 1417; SNG Cop 835; HGC 2 1548, SNG ANS 933 var. (obv. control); SNG Mün 1377 var. (same), Choice gVF, excellent centering and strike, attractive style, nice green patina, bumps and marks, weight 16.480 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 240 - 215 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Hieron left, beardless, thunderbolt (control symbol) behind; reverse horseman prancing right, holding couched spear, (AP monogram) below forelegs (control symbol), IEPΩNOΣ in exergue; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


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; $215.00 (€182.75)
 


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

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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.
GI76945. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 287, 150 Ds 14 Rs 63; BMC Sicily p. 196, 391; SNG ANS 740; SNG Cop 767; HGC 2 1465 var. (R1, 4th Democracy, different controls), aEF, dark sea-green patina, light marks, small spots of light corrosion, flan with ragged edge splits, weight 8.501 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, 305 - 295 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, head of young Herakles left, wearing taenia, star (control symbol) behind neck; reverse lion walking right, right foreleg raised, club right above, arrow right (control symbol) in exergue; $195.00 (€165.75)
 


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; $190.00 (€161.50)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 3rd Democracy, 344 - 336 B.C.

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Timoleon installed a democracy in 345 B.C. After the long series of internal struggles had weakened Syracuse's power, Timoleon tried to remedy this, defeating the Carthaginians near the Krimisos river in 339 B.C. Unfortunately the struggle among the city's parties restarted after his death and ended with the rise of another tyrant, Agathocles, who seized power in 317 B.C.
GI87390. Bronze dilitron, Calciati II p. 185, 80; SNG ANS 533; SNG COP 725; SNG München 1159; SNG Morcom 717; SNG Lloyd 1456; BMC Sicily p. 189, 311; HGC 2 1439 (S), F, nice style, brown tone, legends mostly unstruck or off flan, bumps, scratches, light corrosion, weight 17.765 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION, free horse prancing left; scarce; $190.00 (€161.50)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Caltabiano, C., B. Carroccio, & E. Oteri. Siracusa ellenistica: Le monete 'regali' di Ierone II, della sua famiglia e dei Siracusani. Pelorias 2. (Messina, 1997).
Castrizio, D. La monetazione mercenariale in Sicilia, Strategie economiche e territoriali fra Dione e Timoleonte. (Soveria Manelli, 2000).
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Evans, A. Syracusan Medallions and their Engravers. (London, 1892).
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Head, B. History of the Coinage of Syracuse. (London, 1874).
Hill, G. Coins of Ancient Sicily. (Westminster, 1905).
Hoover, O.D. Handbook of Coins of Sicily (including Lipara), Civic, Royal, Siculo-Punic, and Romano-Sicilian Issues, Sixth to First Centuries BC. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
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Strauss, P. Collection Maurice Laffaille - monnaies grecques en bronze. (Bàle, 1990).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 2: Sicily - Thrace. (London, 1947).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume X, John Morcom Collection. (Oxford, 1995).
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Tudeer, L. Die Tetradrachmenprägung von Syrakus in der Periode der Signierenden Künstler. (Berlin, 1913).
von Bahrfeldt, M. Die römisch-sicilischen Münzen aus der Zeit der Republik, etc. (Geneva, 1904).
Weil, R. Die Künstlerinschriften der sicilischen Münzen. Winckelmannsfest-Progr. 44. (1884).

Catalog current as of Thursday, September 20, 2018.
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Syracuse