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

Messana, Sicily

Founded in the 8th century B.C., until the 5th century Messina was called Zancle, meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its harbor. The Carthaginians sacked the city in 397 B.C. and then Dionysius I of Syracuse conquered it. In 288 B.C. the Mamertine mercenaries seized the city by treachery, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives. The city became a base from which they ravaged the countryside, leading to conflict with Syracuse. Initially Carthage assisted the Mamertines, but when Syracuse attacked a second time, the Mamertines petitioned the Roman Republic for aid. Although initially reluctant, to limit Carthaginian power, Rome allied with the Mamertines. In 264 B.C., Roman troops were deployed to Sicily, the first time a Roman army acted outside the Italian Peninsula. At the end of the First Punic War, Messana was a free city allied with Rome.


Messana, Sicily, c. 324 - 318 B.C.

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Founded in the 8th century B.C., until the 5th century Messina was called Zancle, meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its harbor. Carthage sacked the city in 397 B.C. and then Dionysius I of Syracuse conquered it. In 288 B.C. the Mamertine mercenaries seized the city by treachery, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives. The city became a base from which they ravaged the countryside, leading to conflict with Syracuse. Initially Carthage assisted the Mamertines. When Syracuse attacked a second time, the Mamertines asked Rome for help. Rome was initially reluctant, but allied with the Mamertines to limit Carthaginian power.In 264 B.C., Roman troops were deployed to Sicily, the first time a Roman army acted outside the Italian Peninsula. At the end of the First Punic War, Messana was a free city allied with Rome.
GB85698. Bronze litra, Caltabiano 761 group III (D28/R51); cf. Calciati I p. 52, 15; SNG ANS 393; HGC 2 833 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG Mun -; BMC Sicily -, gVF+, superb style, attractive patina, areas of corrosion and encrustation, weight 6.303 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Messana (Messina, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 324 - 318 B.C.; obverse ΠOΣEI∆AN, laureate head of Poseidon left, torch behind, K below; reverse MEΣΣANIΩN, ornate trident head, flanked on each side by a dolphin with head down; rare; $280.00 (€238.00)
 


The Mamertini, Sicily, c. 208 - 200 B.C.

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Mamertini or "children of Mars," was the name taken by a band of Campanian (or Samnite) freebooters who about 289 B.C. seized the Greek colony of Messana at the north-east corner of Sicily, after having been hired by Agathocles to defend it (Polyb. 1. 7. 2). - 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
GI85684. Bronze pentonkion, Calciati I, p. 108, 41 Ds1; SNG Munchen 730; SNG Cop 462; BMC Sicily p. 111, 27; SGCV I 1144; HGC 2 853, aEF, nice patina, attractive style, obverse a little off center, areas weak or flatly struck, weight 10.143 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 60o, Messana mint, c. 208 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right, club (control symbol) behind; reverse MAMEPTINΩN, warrior advancing right, helmeted, nude, couched spear in right hand, round shield on left arm, Π (mark of value) right; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


La Monetazione Mercenariale in Sicilia

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The coinages of Mercenaries in Sicily.
BK13722. La Monetazione Mercenariale in Sicilia by Daniele Castrizio, 2000, in Italian, 126 pages, 18 plates, hardcover, out of print, new; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Messana, Sicily, 411 - 408 B.C.

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Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, Messina was originally called Zancle, from the Greek meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its natural harbor (though a legend attributes the name to King Zanclus). In the early 5th century BC, Anaxilas of Rhegium renamed it Messene in honor of the Greek city Messene.
GB66780. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 51, 9mv4/1; BMC Sicily p. 107, 71; cf. SNG ANS 390 (controls obscure), VF, weight 4.673 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Messana mint, 411 - 408 B.C.; obverse ΠEΛΩPIAΣ, head of nymph Peloria left, hair in ampyx and sphendone, dolphin behind neck; reverse MEΣΣANIΩN, trident, A P between prongs, scallop shell left, hare downward on right; rare; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


The Mamertini, Sicily, c. 200 - 35 B.C.

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Mamertini or "children of Mars," was the name taken by a band of Campanian (or Samnite) freebooters who about 289 B.C. seized the Greek colony of Messana at the north-east corner of Sicily, after having been hired by Agathocles to defend it (Polyb. 1. 7. 2). - 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
GB70788. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 111, 46 Ds 1 - RS 2; SNG ANS 455 - 4555 var. (plectrum vice tripod); SNG Cop 468 var. (same), VF, pale green patina, edge chips, weight 3.640 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 90o, Messana mint, c. 200 - 35 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; tripod (control symbol) behind; reverse MAMEPTINΩN, Nike standing left, wreath extended in right, palm in left, III (mark of value) in lower left field; ex CNG auction 219 (30 Sep 2009), lot 187; ex D. Alighieri Collection; $70.00 (€59.50)
 


The Mamertini, Sicily, 220 - 200 B.C.

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Mamertini or "Children of Mars" were a band of Campanian (or Samnite) mercenaries who, about 289 B.C., seized Messana at the north-east corner of Sicily, after having been hired by Agathocles to defend it. The Mamertines held Messana for over 20 years, converting it from a town of farmers and traders to a raiding base for pirates on land and sea. In 265 B.C., after Hiero of Syracuse had defeated them and besieged Messana, the Mamertines appealed to Carthage for aid. Soon after they appealed to Rome to rid them of the Carthaginians. The Mamertini then disappear from history, except even centuries later the inhabitants of Messana were called Mamertines. "Mamertine wine" from the vineyards of north-eastern tip of Sicily was the favorite of Julius Caesar and he made it popular after serving it at a feast to celebrate his third consulship.
GI75670. Bronze pentachalkia, Calciati p, 104, 27; SNG ANS 432; SNG Munchen 707; SNG Cop 450; BMC Sicily p. 112, 37; HGC 2 851 (R1), aF, weight 10.899 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 180o, Messana (Messina, Sicily, Italy) mint, 220 - 200 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, long hair, kithara behind; reverse MAMEPTINΩN, warrior standing facing, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, sword in sheath with strap in right, inverted spear vertical in left, grounded shield leaning against spear, Π (mark of value) right; rare; $60.00 (€51.00)
 







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REFERENCES

Arnold-Biucchi, C. The Randazzo Hoard 1980 and Sicilian Chronology in the early fifth Century B.C. ANSNS 18. (New York, 1990).
Bloesch, H. Griechische Münzen In Winterthur, Vol. 1. Spain, Gaul, Italy, Sicily, Moesia, Dacia, Sarmatia, Thrace, and Macedonia. (Winterthur, 1987).
Carollo, S. & A. Morello. Mamertini Storia E Monetazione. (Formia, 1999).
Calciati, R. Corpus Nummorum Siculorum. The Bronze Coinage, Vol. I. (Milan, 1983).
Castrizio, D. La monetazione mercenariale in Sicilia, Strategie economiche e territoriali fra Dione e Timoleonte. (Soveria Manelli, 2000).
Gabrici, E. La monetazione del bronzo nella Sicila antica. (Palermo, 1927).
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).
Naville Co. Monnaies grecques antiques; provenant de la collection de feu le prof. S. Pozzi. Auction 1 (4 April 1921, Geneva).
Poole, R.S. ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Sicily. (London, 1876).
Rizzo, G.E. Monete greche della Sicilia. (Rome, 1946).
Salinas, A. Le monete delle antiche città di Sicilia descritte e illustrate da Antonino Salinas. (Palermo, 1871).
Särström, M. A Study in the Coinage of the Mamertines. (Lund, 1940).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 1: Italy - Sicily. (West Milford, NJ, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 5: Sikelia. (Berlin, 1977).
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).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, USA, The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, Part 4: Sicily 2 (Galaria - Styella). (New York, 1977).

Catalog current as of Saturday, November 18, 2017.
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Messana