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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     840833
Type:     Greek
Region:     SICILY
City:     Syracuse
Issuer:     Timoleon and the Third Democracy
Date Ruled:     344-317 BC
Metal:     Bronze
Denomination:     Onkia
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     BC 344-317
Diameter:     16 mm
Weight:     4.16 g
Die Axis:     1 h
Obverse Legend:     [ZEY]Σ EΛE[YΘEPIOΣ]
Obverse Description:     Laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios left
Reverse Legend:     ΣYP[AKOΣ]IΩN
Reverse Description:     Upright thunderbolt
Primary Reference:     Castrizio series 1, 2
Reference2:     CNS 74 (same dies as illustration)
Reference3:     Rizzo -
Reference4:     Basel 496; SNG Morcom -; SNG ANS 489; SNG Lloyd -; Laffaille -; Virzi 1555-6
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     Superb EF, dark green-brown patina
Notes:     Superbly struck from dies of exquisite style. Ex Nomos FPL 1 (Winter-Spring 2008), no. 10; David Freedman Collection (Triton V, 15 January 2002), lot 245.In the early 4th century BC, Syracuse had become highly factionalized, and the political turmoil was taken advantage of by the Carthaginians, who supported Hiketas against Dionysios I. Eventually a delegation was sent by the Syracusans to Corinth to appeal to their mother city for help. Timoleon was chosen to take control of Syracuse, drive the Carthaginian-backed government from power, and restore the tranquility and prosperity of the great Sicilian city. In this endeavor Timoleon was successful, and his rule sparked a cultural and political revival. This revival is reflected in the city's coinage, with the advent of many new types and denominations.Among the new issues was a multi-denominational series featuring the head of Zeus Eleutherios (the Liberator), whose prominence in this coinage clearly underscored the achievements of Timoleon. What is most unusual and definitive regarding this series is the quality of the engraving. Until this time, the most skilled engravers at Syracuse appear to have been reserved solely for the precious metal coinage, but this bronze issue displays a highly refined style that is certainly on par with the finest art found on the silver and gold.