Silver decadrachm of Syracuse


British Museum

British Museum

Among the finest of all Sicilian coins are those of the city of Syracuse. The people of Syracuse were Greek, and they followed the East Greek coinage tradition. Some of the artists of Syracuse took great pride in the dies that they cut, and engraved them with their own names or initials. Among several known masters was one called Kimon. The first two letters of his name (KI) can be seen engraved on the headband of Arethusa on the reverse of his coins.On the obverse (front) of this coin a man is shown driving a four horse racing-chariot (quadriga) and being crowned by Nike, the goddess of Victory. Beneath this scene is depicted a panoply of armour, with the word ATHLA ('prizes' or 'spoils') engraved above it. These coins have often been interpreted as presentation pieces struck in commemoration of the Syracusan victory over the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War in 413 BC.

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  • Title: Silver decadrachm of Syracuse
  • Date Created: -400/-390
  • Physical Dimensions: Weight: 43.360g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1841,0726.288
  • Production place: Minted in Syracuse
  • Producer: Engraved by Kimon
  • Period/culture: Greek
  • Material: silver
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Steuart, Claude Scott