Syracusan tetradrachm, CA. 465 BC.


Tetradrachm of Syracuse

Struck about 465 B.C. This coin was made in conjunction with the Demareteion by the same master engraver and has the same design. The coin represents a small, but significant, change in the design of Syracusan coinage: Artemis-Arethusa acquired an olive wreath, and a running lion appeared in the exergue (never to reappear in Syracusan coinage).

It has been suggested that the addition of the olive wreath to the head of Artemis-Arethusa is a stylistic convention indicating that the Demareteion master was trained in Athens, where the olive wreath was commonly used on the head of Athena on Athenian coinage. As discussed previously, the lion presents a problem of interpretation which may never be solved.

The obverse features a slow quadriga driven to the right by a male charioteer in a long chiton, with Nike flying setting a laurel wreath on the horses' heads. In the exergue there is a lion running to the right.

The reverse has the head of Artemis-Arethusa facing right with a nimbus around. The Greek inscription, running counterclockwise, reads "SYRAKOSION" and is broken up by dolphins swimming clockwise.

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