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Coin Detail
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ID:     77000061
     [UNVERIFIED]
Type:     Greek
Region:     SICILY
City:     Syracuse
Issuer:     Second Democracy
Date Ruled:     466-405 BC
Metal:     Silver
Denomination:     Tetradrachm
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     BC circa 415-405
Weight:     17.44 g
Die Axis:     10 h
Obverse Legend:     K[IMO]N
Obverse Description:     Head of Arethusa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx inscribed K[IMO]N, single-pendant earring and necklace, sea-swept hair radiating outward; within her locks of hair, four dolphins: on the left, one swims downward while another is just emerging above, and on the right, one swims down toward another that is presenting from behind Arethusa’s neck
Reverse Legend:     ΣΥΡΑΚ−ΟΣΙΩΝ
Reverse Description:     Charioteer (Arethusa) driving fast quadriga left, holding reins in both hands; above, Nike advancing right, preparing to crown charioteer with laurel wreath; below, stele lying on its side; in exergue, grain ear lying left
Primary Reference:     Tudeer 81 (dies 29/54)
Reference2:     SNG ANS 288
Reference3:     Rizzo pl. XLVIII, 11
Reference4:     BMC 208; Gulbenkian 293; Kraay & Hirmer 123 (all from the same dies)
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Source:     http://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=114484
Grade:     EF, toned with underlying luster in the devices
Notes:     Sale: Triton XI, Lot: 61 Well centered and struck By the late 5th century BC, Syracuse had become the most significant of the Greek cities in Sicily, and her political and cultural power was reflected in her massive issues of coinage still extant today. Her status drew a plethora of highly skilled artists from around the Mediterranean, including an assortment of particularly capable die engravers whose names adorned the coins of this period. These masters developed new ways of viewing the world through art, breaking the static forms of Classic art and developing new methods of portraying motion and life in miniature. The silver tetradrachm was the preferred mode of expression, being large enough for their free-ranging talents and also being minted in vast quantities for military endeavors that would disseminate their works far and wide. Even more remarkable were the large silver dekadrachms of Syracuse, which have become universal symbols of Greek numismatic art. Among the famous artists, only two have their signature on the dekadrachms, Euainetos and Kimon. Whether chosen for their skill or by chance, their body of work clearly proves that these two were the elite among numismatic artists.This masterful facing head tetradrachm, however, sets Kimon apart from all of his contemporaries. His rendition of the nymph Arethusa displays a degree of delicacy and control that set a new precedent in die engraving. The composition's beautiful three dimensional perspective is augmented by a fluid style that effectively conveys the natural motion of the nymph's hair in her liquid environment. The nymph's underwater environment is further emphasized by the placement of the dolphins, who weave themselves within her hair in a playful manner. The serenity of Arethusa's countenance, with her full, pouting lips and other-worldly gaze from her almond-shaped eyes, convey a sense of her place aloof from the realm of man, while the entire scene firmly secures her within our natural world. One may sense the pride Kimon took in the completion of his masterpiece, as his name is prominently engraved upon Arethusa's amphyx.We know that Kimon's tetradrachm was as revered for its beauty in the ancient world as much as it is today, as it became a model for facing-head issues of other cities, both local, such as Segesta, and around the Mediterranean, such as Larissa in Thessaly and Tarsos in Cilicia.