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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ SicilyView 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.


Katane, Sicily, c. 212 - 50 B.C.

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Catania, on the east coast of Sicily between Messina and Syracuse, has been repeatedly damaged and even destroyed by catastrophic earthquakes and eruptions from Mount Etna, yet it still prospers. Today, Catania is an economic, tourist, and education center, and an important hub of industry, nicknamed the "European Silicon Valley."
GB65645. Bronze two chalkoi, Calciati III p. 112, 26; SNG ANS 1284; SNG Cop 194; BMC Sicily p. 52, 66 (hexas), VF, nice for the type, green patina, weight 3.590 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 0o, Katane mint, c. 212 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left, monogram behind neck; reverse KATA/NAIΩN, Aphrodite Hyblaia (or Isis?) standing right, wearing kalathos on head, holding dove in extended right, II (2 chalkoi) right; rare; $85.00 (€75.65)


Himera, Sicily, c. 420 - 409 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., Carthage attacked Himera. The city was unprepared; its fortifications weak. At first they were supported about 4000 auxiliaries from Syracuse, but their general, Diocles, seized with panic for the safety of Syracuse itself, abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. More than 3000 prisoners were put to death by General Hannibal Mago as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.
GB67658. Bronze tetras, Calciati I, p. 42, 31; SNG ANS 1339; Laffaille 149; SNG Cop -, aF, weight 2.200 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 90o, Himera mint, c. 420 - 409 B.C.; obverse Pan on a goat prancing right, nude but for chlamys fluttering in the wind behind, preparing to blow on conch in right, thyrsus in left over shoulder, three pellets under goat between legs; reverse [IMEΠAION], Nike flying left, apluster with dangling fillets in extended right, fold of long chiton in left; $85.00 (€75.65)


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

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In 310 B.C., Agathokles, tyrant of Syracuse, defeated and besieged by Carthage, took the desperate resolve of breaking through the blockade and attacking the enemy in Africa. After several victories he was completely defeated in 306 B.C. and fled secretly back to Sicily. After concluding peace, Agathocles styled himself king of Sicily, and established rule over the Greek cities of the island.
SH69733. Bronze AE 16, Calciati II p. 239, 110 Ds11 Rl 38 (astragalus); SNG Cop 762 (astragalus?); SNG München 1245 (lion head) (BMC 356 ff, Lindgren II 570v ), gF, superb style, weight 3.104 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, c. 317 - 310 B.C.; obverse head of Kore-Persephone left, wreathed in grain, lion's head leftlion's head left (or astragalus) behind neck; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (in exergue), bull butting left, E/Λ monogram above; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $85.00 (€75.65)


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysius I, 405 - 367 B.C.

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"The model for the head on the obverse is derived from the facing Arethusa by Kimon. Exemplars signed by the great master are known. This issue is usually attributed to Exakestidas with several exemplars signed E. However, stylistic evidence of many exemplars reveals such substantial differences the intervention of other engravers seems to be certain, while the discovery of traces of signature not completely legible but certainly not pointing to Exakestidas confirm the assumption." - Calciati p. 59
GB59265. Bronze tetras, Calciati II p. 59 ff., 29; SNG ANS 385; SNG Cop 679; SNG Morcom -, VF, rough green patina, weight 1.852 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, Syracuse mint, c. 405 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of nymph facing slightly left, wearing neck; reverse octopus; $80.00 (€71.20)


Entella, Sicily, c. 420 - 404 B.C.

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Entella was on the left bank of the river Hypsas (modern Belice), about 40 km from the mouth and nearly midway between the two seas. In 404 B.C. Campanian mercenaries, who had been in the service of Carthage, were allowed into the Entella on friendly terms. They put all the male citizens to the sword and took the city for themselves.
GB65250. Bronze AE 18, Calciati I p. 317, 1; SNG Morcom 580; SNG Cop -; SNG München -, aVF, weight 3.171 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 180o, Entella mint, Sicily; obverse female head left, wearing sphendone, earring, and necklace; reverse ENTEΛ, bearded head (Zeus?) right, wearing fillet; scarce; $80.00 (€71.20)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hiketas, 288 - 279 B.C.

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Hicetas was tyrant of Syracuse for about nine years. The only recorded events during his rule are his victory over Phintias, tyrant of Agrigentum, and his defeat to the Carthaginians at the river Terias. He was expelled from Syracuse by Thynion shortly before Pyrrhus arrived in Sicily.
GB90325. Bronze hemilitron, cf. Calciati p. 263, 125; HGC 2 1466 (S), SNG Cop 804; SNG ANS 776 ff. (various control symbols), aVF, nice green patina, weight 6.767 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 225o, Syracuse mint, 287 - 283 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (off flan), head of Kore-Persephone left, wreathed in grain; reverse Nike driving galloping biga right, A(?) in exergue (off flan); scarce; $80.00 (€71.20)


"Kainon," Sicily, c. 367 - 340 B.C.

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This issue, assigned to Alaisa in many references, was perhaps produced by Thracian mercenaries operating in Sicily in the 4th century B.C.
GI72231. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 249, 1; SNG Cop 133 (Alaesa); SNG München 213 (Alaisa); BMC Sicily p. 29, 3 (Alaesa?); SGCV I 1048 (Alaisa); HGC 2 509, aVF, weight 9.118 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, rope-like exergue line (clouds?); reverse horse prancing left, loose reigns flying behind, KAINON in exergue; $80.00 (€71.20)


Syracuse, Sicily, Fifth Democracy, 214 - 212 B.C.

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Overcoming formidable resistance and the ingenious devices of Archimedes, the Roman General Marcus Claudius Marcellus took Syracuse in the summer of 212 B.C. Archimedes was killed during the attack. The plundered artworks taken back to Rome from Syracuse lit the initial spark of Greek influence on Roman culture.
GI74344. Bronze tetras, Calciati II p. 418, 209; BMC Sicily p. 225, 675; SNG ANS 1052; SNG München 1549; SNG Cop -; SGCV I -; HGC 2 -, VF, heavy patina, corrosion, rough, weight 2.294 g, maximum diameter 11.5 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 214 - 212 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon right, crescent with horns up behind; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphin downward flanking on each side, ΣYP−AKO/ΣI−ΩN in two lines in lower field divided by shank; ex David Surber Collection ; rare; $80.00 (€71.20)


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

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Following Heron's death, democracy was restored in 466 B.C. Similar to at Athens, the polis was governed by a council and popular assembly with an executive consisting of elected generals or strategoi. Syracuse fought against Athens 427 - 424 B.C. and again 415 - 413 B.C.; ultimately Syracuse was victorious. With further reforms by Diocles, the democratic nature of Syracuse's political structure was further strengthened.
GI75138. Bronze hemilitra, Calciati II p. 55, 24 (after 410 B.C.); SNG ANS 415 ff. (c. 405 B.C.); SNG Cop 697 ff.; SNG München 180 ff.; HGC 2 1480 (S, 415 - 405 B.C.), aVF, nice green patina, weight 3.428 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, no earrings, wearing ampyx, with hair bound in sphendone; laurel branch with two leaves behind; reverse dolphin swimming right above ΣYPA, inverted scallop shell below; $80.00 (€71.20)


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 München 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; $80.00 (€71.20)




    



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, September 25, 2016.
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