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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. 445 - 439 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |c.| |445| |-| |439| |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.
SH28062. Silver tetradrachm, Caltabiano, series IX, 364 (D163/R153); SNG ANS 343; HGC 2 783; SNG Cop -, Choice EF, weight 17.257 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 45o, Messana mint, c. 445 - 439 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving mule biga right, Nike flying above crowing mules, laurel leaf in ex; reverse MEΣΣ−ANION, hare leaping right, olive sprig below; nice metal, nice light toning, well struck and centered on a large medallic flan, reverse slightly double struck; SOLD


Messana, Sicily, c. 450 B.C.

|Messana|, |Messana,| |Sicily,| |c.| |450| |B.C.||litra|
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.
SH19449. Silver litra, BMC Sicily 63; SGCV I 849, EF, weight 0.711 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 45o, Messana mint, obverse hare leaping right, scallop below; reverse MEΣ in wreath; toned; SOLD


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; rare; 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).
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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).

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