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

Ancient Greek Coins of Sicily

The coins of Ancient Greek Sicily are considered among the finest numismatic works of art ever produced. Superb examples may cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Forum's selections include some more affordable examples.

Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon and the Third Democracy, c. 344 - 317 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Timoleon| |and| |the| |Third| |Democracy,| |c.| |344| |-| |317| |B.C.||dilitron|
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.
GI95238. Silver dilitron, SNG ANS 518; SNG Cop 717; SNG Munchen 1126; BMC Sicily p. 186, 283; Weber 1644; HGC 2 1373 (R2), VF, well centered, very dark toning, porosity, edge crack, weight 1.226 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 344 - 317 B.C.; obverse laureate Janiform female head, ΣYPAKOΣI-ΩN upward on left, two dolphins nose to nose on right; reverse horse galloping right, barley ear right above, N below; ex Forum (2018); rare; $400.00 (€368.00)


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Timoleon,| |344| |-| |336| |B.C.||hemidrachm|
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.
GI93448. Bronze hemidrachm, Calciati II p. 167, 72; SNG ANS 477; SNG Cop 727; SNG Munchen 1151; BMC Sicily p. 189, 313; Laffaille 220; HGC 2 1440 (S), VF, attractive style, a few spots of corrosion, thick flan with pre-strike casting sprues remaining (normal for the type), weight 16.099 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, 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), thunderbolt, eagle on right standing right with wings closed; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $230.00 (€211.60)


Agyrion, Sicily, 355 - 344 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Agyrion,| |Sicily,| |355| |-| |344| |B.C.||tetras|
Agyrion (modern Agira) was a Sikel city ruled by tyrants, one of whom, Agyris, was the most powerful ruler in the center of Sicily. In 392 B.C., he and Dionysius the Elder, together successfully resisted the Carthaginians under Magno. Agira was not colonized by the Greeks until the Corinthian general Timoleon drove out the last Sikel tyrant in 339 B.C. and settled 10,000 Greeks.

According to Caltabiano, Palagkaios was probably the Sikel name for the larger of the two local rivers (Salso Cimarosa today). Molinari and Sisci propose a Semitic origin, from the Akkadian palag-āsú, 'the gushing river.'
GB91174. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 125, 10; Potamikon 14; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG Morcom -, VF, dark green patina, undersize flan, weight 2.685 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 270o, Agyrion (Agira, Sicily, Italy) mint, 355 - 344 B.C.; obverse AΓYPINAI counterclockwise before, young Herakles' head left, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse forepart of a man-faced bull (river-god Acheloios Palagkaios) left, ΠAΛAΓKAIOΣ horizontal above, dot border; rare; $170.00 (€156.40)


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |The| |Sileraioi,| |Sicily,| |c.| |357| |-| |330| |B.C.|
Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $135.00 (€124.20)


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Hiketas,| |287| |-| |278| |B.C.||litra|
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; $135.00 (€124.20)


Panormos, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 241 - 50 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Panormos,| |Sicily,| |Roman| |Rule,| |c.| |241| |-| |50| |B.C.||AE| |23|
The gens Calpurnia was a plebeian family, which claimed descent from Calpus, the son of Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome. The first of the gens to obtain the consulship was Gaius Calpurnius Piso in 180 B.C., but from this time their consulships were very frequent, and the family of the Pisones became one of the most illustrious in the Roman state. Two important pieces of Republican legislation, the lex Calpurnia of 149 B.C. and lex Acilia Calpurnia of 67 B.C. were passed by members of the gens.
GI76937. Bronze AE 23, Calciati I p. 351, 130 (2 specimens); SNG Cop 556; HGC 2 1071 (C); SNG Munchen 810 var. (AE28); SNG ANS -; SNG Tüb -; BMC Sicily -, gVF/aVF, attractive style, green patina, weight 5.744 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, Panormus (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) mint, magistrate C. Calpurnius, c. 241 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus left; reverse warrior standing left, sword in extended right hand, spear vertical behind in left, grounded shield behind leaning on spear, C CALP lower left; rare; $105.00 (€96.60)


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

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Agathokles,| |317| |-| |289| |B.C.||AE| |13|
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.
GI93451. Bronze AE 13, cf. Calciati II p. 284, 149; SNG ANS 744; SNG Morcom 748; HGC 2 1525 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -, BMC Sicily -, F, brown tone, porosity/corrosion, reverse off center, weight 1.496 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 295 - 289 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣION, laureate head of Apollo left, uncertain control symbol behind; reverse dog seated left, looking back right at tail, Y (control letter) above, A (control letter) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $105.00 (€96.60)


Uncertain City (Panormos?), Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 211 - 190 B.C.

|Roman| |Italy| |&| |Sicily|, |Uncertain| |City| |(Panormos?),| |Sicily,| |Roman| |Rule,| |c.| |211| |-| |190| |B.C.||triens|
In 254 B.C. Panormus was captured by the Romans. It retained its municipal freedom, and remained for many years one of the principal cities of Sicily. It continued to issue bronze coins, bearing the names of various resident magistrates, and following the Roman system. Under Augustus, Panormus received a Roman colony.
GI89312. Bronze triens, Semuncial standard; Calciati I p. 365, 205 (Panormos); SNG Munchen 835 (Panormos); HGC 2 1691 (R1, uncertain Romano-Sicilian); SNG Cop -, aVF, off center but types on flan, a little rough, weight 3.239 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Romano-Sicilian mint, c. 211 - 190 B.C.; obverse veiled and draped bust of Demeter-Ceres left, small cornucopia behind neck; reverse double cornucopia, overflowing with bunches of grapes, tied with fillets, four pellets (mark of value) in a vertical line to left; rare; $90.00 (€82.80)


Akragas, Sicily, 405 - 392 B.C.

|Akragas|, |Akragas,| |Sicily,| |405| |-| |392| |B.C.||hemilitron|
This countermarked issue was struck in the troubled period that followed the city's destruction by Carthage.
CM77135. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 197, 92; SNG Cop 88; SNG ANS 1065; SNG Munchen 121; SGCV I 1026; SNG Morcom 529; HGC 2 -, Fair; countermark: Fine, weight 12.452 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily) mint, 405 - 392 B.C.; obverse countermark with the head of young Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion's skin headdress, worn crab undertype; reverse worn eagle with hare in talons undertype; $72.00 (€66.24)


Kentoripai, Sicily, c. 211 - 190 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Kentoripai,| |Sicily,| |c.| |211| |-| |190| |B.C.||hexas|
Kentoripai was an iron age Sikel town that maintained its culture and language long after much of Sicily had become Hellenized. In 414 B.C., the town allied with Athens to help defeat a Syracusan inland expedition. In 396, Kentoripai made a treaty with Syracuse. In 344, Timoleon defeated Nikodemos, the ruler of Kentoripai and annexed the city and its territory. Kentoripai was one of the first cities in Sicily to make a treaty with Rome. The city was rewarded for its loyalty and under Roman protection it became one of the most important cities in Roman Sicily.
GI93441. Bronze hexas, Calciati III p. 175, 7; BMC Sicily p. 56, 13; SNG ANS 1323; SNG Cop 216; SNG Munchen 517; HGC 2 637 (R1), aVF, well centered on a broad flan, green patina with red copper areas, porous, small edge cracks, weight 4.435 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Kentoripai mint, c. 211 - 190 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Demeter right, wreathed in grain, wearing earring and necklace, stalk of grain behind; reverse plow right, bird on the share, two pellets left, KENTO/PIΠINΩN in two lines, starting above, ending below, linear border; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $70.00 (€64.40)




  






REFERENCES|

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