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Syracuse, Ca. 460-450 BC
Sicily, Syracuse Ar. tetradrachm. Slow quadriga right, driven by charioteer standing, holding reins and kentron; above, Nike flying right and crowning horses; in exergue, sea-serpent right. Rev. ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΟ – Ν; Pearl diademed head of the nymph Arethusa right, wearing earring and necklace; surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise. McClean 2653 (these dies); SNG Copenhagen 642 (this obverse die); Boehringer 483. Lovely old cabinet tone, fine style and About Extremely Fine.


This coin is emblematic of the exceptional standard of Syracusan coin production in the 5th Century BC. Breaking away from the more stiff and stylised forms of the Archaic period, Sicily and especially Syracuse began producing coinage of extremely fine quality, rendering the head of Arethusa in an extremely lifelike manner. The quadriga reverse was invented by Syracusan die engravers and functioned as a marker for the tetradrachm denomination for the whole of Sicily.

Gelon, the tyrant of Syracuse, defeated the Carthaginians at the battle of Himera in Ca. 480 BC. This victory made Syracuse the dominant power in Magna Graecia until its besiegement by the Romans in Ca. 213-212 BC.

For additional information see:
Sear, D. R., 1978, Greek Coins and Their Values Volume 1: Europe. Spink Books.


  • Dimensions 

    D: 26mm ; 16.05g 


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