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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.


Akragas, Sicily, 287 - 241 B.C.

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Zeus Hellanios may be translated as "Zeus worshiped by all Greeks." In Sicily, Zeus Hellanios was depicted without a beard, and so is often mistaken for Apollo. Zeus Hellanios may have been depicted on this coin type to help unify the Greeks against Carthage. It highlights a commonality among all Greeks and a distinction between them and the Phoenicians, who worshiped Melqart.
GB69009. Bronze trias, Calciati p 214, 134; SNG ANS 134; cf. SNG Morcom 541; SNG Cop 113 var. (∆ control letter on obv.); HGC 2 159, VF, nice patina, weight 4.360 g, maximum diameter 19.22 mm, die axis 90o, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, 287 - 241 B.C.; obverse beardless and laureate head of Zeus Hellanios right; reverse two eagles left, hare in talons, nearest with head upright screaming, eagle behind head lowered on hare; $125.00 (€111.25)


Syracuse, Sicily, c. 415 B.C., By the Master Phrygillos

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Superb style by the master Phrygillos. Calciati referring to this type notes, "Coins exist signed by signed by Kimon (KIM), Phrygillos (ΦPI), Eukleidas (EY) and by an unknown engraver with the letter E (Eumenes?)." While the signature on this coin is not clear, it is without any doubt the work of Phrygillos.
GI77310. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati p. 47, 19 fr 4; SNG ANS 412; BMC Sicily p. 182, 243; SNG Cop 696 (obv. symbol off flan); SGCV I 1186; HGC 2 1479 (S), VF, rough, encrustations, areas of corrosion, weight 3.568 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 B.C.; obverse Head of Arethusa left, hair in sphendone (inscribed ΦPI?), dolphin behind; reverse ΣY−PA, wheel of four spokes, dolphin in each of the lower quarters; $125.00 (€111.25)


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.
GS90331. Silver hemilitron, Boehringer 716 (V351/R717), HGC 2 1390 (R2), SNG Cop -, SNG ANS -, SNG München -, F, grainy, weight 0.347 g, maximum diameter 9.7 mm, Syracuse mint, c. 420 - 415 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa right, hair in saccos; reverse S-Y-R-A, ethnic clockwise within a wheel of four pokes; ex Numismatik Lanz; rare; $120.00 (€106.80)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GB71006. Bronze litra, Calciati p. 399, 198 R1; BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG München; HGC 2 -; SRCV I -, aVF, nice green patina, weight 7.329 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, c. 217 - 215 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon right; reverse ornamented trident-head, dolphins at sides, IEP−ΩNOΣ in lower field divided by shank, ΛY lower right; very rare head right; $120.00 (€106.80)


Leontini, Sicily, c. 476 - 455 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.
GS65784. Silver hemilitra, SNG München 548; Boehringer Leontini B; cf. HGC 2 688 (R2, obol); SNG ANS 216 (obol, finer style); BMC Sicily p. 88, 22 (same); SNG Cop 342 (same), aVF, toned, crude style (perhaps a barbaric imitative), weight 0.280 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 0o, Leontini (or unofficial?) mint, c. 476 - 466 B.C.; obverse crude facing lion scalp, dot border; reverse LE/ON (retrograde), barley grain, within shallow round incuse; from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; very rare; $115.00 (€102.35)


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

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Hicetas was the 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.
GB66247. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 313, 168 R1; SNG Cop 796; SNG ANS 803 ff., HGC 2 1449 (S), aEF, weight 8.179 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, 287 - 278 B.C.; obverse ∆IOΣ EΛΛANIOY, laureate head of young Zeus Hellanios right; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, A over star left; $110.00 (€97.90)


Syracuse, Sicily, Roman Rule, 212 - c. 189 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.
GB69015. Bronze AE 21, Calciati II p. 424, 227; SNG ANS 1066 ff.; SNG Cop 900; SNG München 1472 ff.; HGC 2 1474 (S), VF, well centered, green patina, light corrosion and marks, weight 9.230 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, 212 - c. 189 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus left; reverse Nike in galloping in a biga right, whip(?) in right, reins in left, crescent above, ΣYPAKOΣIΩN in exergue; scarce; $110.00 (€97.90)


Katane, Sicily, c. 415 - 403 B.C.

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Katane was captured by Dionysios of Syracuse in 403 B.C., who sold the population into slavery and resettled the city with Campanian mercenaries. The city submitted to Rome during the First Punic war.
GB90652. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 91, 1; SNG ANS 1272; BMC Sicily p. 50, 51; SNG Cop -, SNG München -, VF, weight 1.985 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 45o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 415 - 403 B.C.; obverse AMENANOΣ, young head of river-god Amenanos left, with horns and wavy hair; reverse winged thunderbolt, wings open, K-A flanking under wings, three small pellets around (two above wings, one right); rare; $110.00 (€97.90)


Thermae Himerenses, Sicily, c. 407 - 370 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians under the command of Hannibal, conquered Himera, crucified three hundred of its leading men and obliterated the town. The site has been desolate ever since. The few surviving Greeks were settled by the Carthaginians eleven kilometers west of Himera at Thermae Himeraeae (Termini Imerese today). Thermae was the birthplace of Agathocles.

Herakles was named in honor of his stepmother Hera, but she was his enemy. She even tried to prevent his birth by tying his mother's legs in knots and to kill him as an infant with two serpents. After Hera drove him mad, Hercules slew his own six sons. She made almost all of Herakles' twelve labors more difficult. Hera later befriended Herakles for saving her from Porphyrion, a giant who tried to rape her. She even gave her daughter Hebe to him as his bride.
GB70605. Bronze AE 15, Calciati I p. 119, 13; BMC Sicily p. 83, 3; SNG ANS 190; SNG Cop -, VF, weight 3.800 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 180o, Thermai mint, c. 407 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of Hera right wearing stephane; reverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion's head headdress; $110.00 (€97.90)


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C., Possibly the Work of Phrygillos

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Calciati notes that coins of this issue included dies signed by the masters Kimon, Phrygillos, Eukleidas, and possibly Eumenes. Other examples, many of which were struck with fine style dies, are unsigned. Some examples with a dolphin behind Arethusa are signed by Phrygillos. Other coins of this type that are not signed, but with his style and the same dolphin are also believed to be his work. There is no signature visible on this coin but it is in fine style and is likely the work of Phrygillos.
GI75170. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 48, 20; SNG ANS 411; BMC Sicily p. 182, 243; SNG Cop 696 (obv. symbol off flan); SGCV I 1186; HGC 2 1479 (S), VF, fine classical style, green patina, reverse a little off-center, light cleaning scratches, encrustations, weight 3.184 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 415 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Arethusa left, hair in ampyx and sphendone, dolphin downward with head turned back up (control symbol) behind; reverse four-spoked wheel, ΣY−PA divided by spoke across upper two quarters, dolphin head down and inward in each of the lower quarters; $110.00 (€97.90)




    



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Catalog current as of Saturday, January 21, 2017.
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