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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Sicily| ▸ |Messana||View 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. 455 - 451 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |c.| |455| |-| |451| |B.C.|, |tetradrachm|
Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century B.C., 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 in honor of the Greek city Messene.
SH67869. Silver tetradrachm, Randazzo Hoard 222 (same dies, same obv die state); Caltabiano series VII- (D142/R138); SNG Munchen 644 var. (no D); HGC 2 781 (R1), VF, rainbow toning, struck with a very rusty damaged obverse die, weight 17.301 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, Messana mint, c. 455 - 451 B.C.; obverse seated charioteer driving biga of mules right; Nike above flying right and crowning mules with wreath, olive and olive leaf in exergue; reverse MESSA-NION (counterclockwise from lower left, S's inverted), hare springing right, D below; Charioteer driving biga of mules right; above, Nike flying right, crowning horses; olive leaf and berry in exergue; rare; SOLD


Messana, Sicily, c. 330 - 325 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |c.| |330| |-| |325| |B.C.|, |tetras|
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.
SH70588. Bronze tetras, HGC 2 840 (R1, same dies); Caltabiano 751 - 752 (D20/-); Calciati I p. 52, 16; SNG Cop 421; SNG Munchen 674; SNG ANS -; BMC Sicily -, Choice VF, nice style, nice strike, nice patina, weight 5.033 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 135o, Messana (Messina, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 330 - 325 B.C.; obverse ΠOΣEI∆AN, laureate head of Poseidon left, ∆ (mark of value) behind; reverse M−E−Σ−Σ−A−NI−ON, ornate trident head, flanked on each side by a dolphin with head down; rare; SOLD


Messana, Sicily, c. 330 - 325 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |c.| |330| |-| |325| |B.C.|, |tetras|
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.
SH77506. Bronze tetras, HGC 2 840 (R1); Caltabiano 751 ff.; Calciati I p. 52, 16; SNG Cop 421; SNG Munchen 674; SNG ANS -; BMC Sicily -, Nice VF, fine classical style, nice green patina, weight 3.603 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 180o, Messana (Messina, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 330 - 325 B.C.; obverse ΠOΣEI∆AN, laureate head of Poseidon left, ∆ (mark of value) behind; reverse M−E−Σ−Σ−A−NI−ON, ornate trident head, flanked on each side by a dolphin with head down; rare; SOLD


Messana, Sicily, c. 438 - 434 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |c.| |438| |-| |434| |B.C.|, |tetradrachm|
In 438 B.C., the Parthenon on the Acropolis at Athens was completed by Ictinus and Callicrates and consecrated after nine years of construction. It was dedicated at the Panathenaea (a festival held in honour of Athena every four years on the Acropolis).
SH60307. Silver tetradrachm, Caltabiano, series X, 420 - 422 (-/R173); SNG Munchen 649; HGC 2 783 var. (R1, symbols below hare), aF, toned, struck with worn dies, weight 16.919 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Messana mint, c. 438 - 434 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving mule biga right, Nike flying above crowing mules with wreath, laurel leaf in ex; reverse MEΣΣA−N−I−ON (counterclockwise starting lower left), hare leaping right; SOLD


Messana, Sicily, 480 - 461 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |480| |-| |461| |B.C.|, |obol|
Founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century B.C., 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 in honor of the Greek city Messene.
SH13681. Silver obol, SNG ANS 324, SGCV I 845, Choice VF, weight .684 g, maximum diameter 10.4 mm, die axis 180o, Messana mint, obverse hare running right, in circle of dots; reverse MES (retrograde), in circle of dots; toned, well centered, attractive; scarce; SOLD


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

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |c.| |324| |-| |318| |B.C.|, |litra|
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 Mn -; 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; SOLD


The Mamertini, Sicily, c. 288 - 278 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |The| |Mamertini,| |Sicily,| |c.| |288| |-| |278| |B.C.|, |pentonkion|
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
GB58586. Bronze pentonkion, Calciati I p. 92, 3; SNG ANS 402; BMC Sicily p. 109, 3; SNG Cop 434 var. (on reverse F left), VF, weight 16.893 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 270o, Messana mint, obverse A left), VF, weight 16.893 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 270o, Messana mint, obverse AF lt), VF, weight 16.893 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 270o, Messana mint, obverse AF left), VF, weight 16.893 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 270o, Messana mint, obverse ARES> left), VF, weight 16.893 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 270o, Messana mint, obverse ARES, laureate head of Ares right, uncertain control symbol behind (off flan); reverse MAMEPTINΩN, eagle with spread wings standing left on a thunderbolt; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); SOLD


Messana, Sicily, The Mamertini, 288 - 278 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |The| |Mamertini,| |288| |-| |278| |B.C.|, |tetras|
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.
GB70920. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 66, 15; Carollo-Morello 20a; Srstrm 111 ff.; BMC Sicily p. 110, 14; HGC 2 874 (R2), VF, nice green patina, small slightly irregular flan, weight 3.445 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 90o, Messana mint, c. 288 B.C.; obverse ∆IOΣ, laureate beardless head of young Zeus Hellanios left; reverse MAMEP−TINΩN, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings open; rare; SOLD


Messana, Sicily, c. 317 - 311 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |c.| |317| |-| |311| |B.C.|, |litra|
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.
GI90320. Bronze litra, Caltabiano 789 (D2/R5); Calciati I p. 53, 18 R1; SNG ANS 386; SNG Fitzwilliam 1082; SNG Morcom 619; HGC 2 831 (C); SGCV I 1134, VF, weight 9.941 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 180o, Messana mint, c. 317 - 311 B.C.; obverse MESSANIΩN, head of the nymph Messana left, wearing tainia, trident head behind; reverse Biga of mules standing right, driven by Messana, a long palm in her right hand, reins in left, T below; ex Frascatius Ancient Coins; scarce; SOLD


Mamertini, Messana, Sicily, 288 - 278 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Mamertini,| |Messana,| |Sicily,| |288| |-| |278| |B.C.|, |quadruple|
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.
GB63412. Bronze quadruple, Calciati I p. 94, 7 DS 3; SNG ANS 402 ff. var. (control variations), F, weight 17.469 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 315o, Messana mint, 288 - 278 B.C.; obverse APEOΣ, laureate head of ares right, torch behind; reverse MAMEPTINΩN, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, Σ left; SOLD




  




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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 Mnzen 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 citt di Sicilia descritte e illustrate da Antonino Salinas. (Palermo, 1871).
Srstrm, 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, Mnchen Staatlische Mnzsammlung, 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).

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