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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     783861
Type:     Greek
Region:     SICILY
City:     Syracuse
Issuer:     Agathocles
Date Ruled:     317-289 BC
Metal:     Silver
Denomination:     Tetradrachm
Date Struck:     BC circa 310-306/5
Diameter:     25 mm
Weight:     17 g
Die Axis:     3 h
Obverse Legend:     ΚΟΡΑΣ
Obverse Description:     Head of Kore right, wearing grain ear wreath, single-pendant earring, and necklace
Reverse Legend:     ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΣ[ΙΟΣ] / ΑΙ
Reverse Description:     Nike standing right, erecting trophy; AI monogram to lower left, triskeles to right
Primary Reference:     Ierardi 100 (O21/R58)
Reference2:     SNG ANS 664
Reference3:     SNG Fitzwilliam 1349 (same dies)
Reference4:     Dewing 946 (same dies); Pierpont Morgan 153 (same dies)
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     EF, gray toning
Notes:     Struck from dies of fine style. Agathokles was born in Himera circa 361 BC, the son of a potter who moved the family to Syracuse in the 340's BC. Tiring of his father's trade, Agathokles became a soldier, and quickly established himself as a able leader. At the head of a mercenary army, in 317 BC Agathokles seized control of Syracuse in a bloody coup. Over the next few years, he built-up his army and created a formidable navy, and used them to expanded his power base throughout Sicily. This inevitably led him into conflict with Carthage, which still controlled territory in western Sicily. The war lasted from 311-306 BC, and only resulted in each side becoming more entrenched in their respective parts of Sicily, with the border between them established along the Halycus River. In 304 BC, imitating the famous Diadochs in the east, Agathokles declared himself king of Sicily, though his power only extended across the eastern part of the island. His later years were more concerned with the consolidation of his power, and less concerned with its expansion. Seeing that none of his progeny could effectively rule in his place, in 289 BC, upon his death bed, Agathokles restored the Syracusan democracy.This tetradrachm is from the second series of Agathokles' silver at Syracuse, struck during the time of his war against Carthage. With this series, Agathokles ends the long-standing traditional Quadriga / Arethusa tetradrachm type, and introduces novel designs. The obverse depicts Kore (Persephone), who was a popular deity closely associated with Sicily, and widely worshipped there. The reverse depicts a victory scene, and is related to the war against Carthage.