Tetradrachm of Akragas

Around 420-413 BC

Museo Arqueológico Nacional

Museo Arqueológico Nacional
Madrid, Spain

The result of a long process of evolution, the Western coin was born in Lydia (modern-day Turkey) at the end of the 7th century BC, although it was the Greeks who spread its value and the advantages of using coins. From the coasts of Ionia to those of Iberia the multitude of coins that were in circulation in different cities made these small pieces a powerful vehicle for conveying and expanding the Greek model and culture. Symbols of the state and of citizen identity, their designs was scrupulously chosen and developed. In this complex world of images, the coins of prosperous Sicilian colonies stand out for their artistic quality and visual power. On the obverse, an eagle – one of the emblems of the city – holds a hare in its claws, accompanied by the inscription ‘of the Akragans’. On the reverse, there is the other symbol of the polis, a river crab, a giant fish – probably a grouper – and two tiny molluscs, which are laid out as if they were on a plate.


  • Title: Tetradrachm of Akragas
  • Date Created: Around 420-413 BC
  • Provenance: Agrigento (Sicily, Italy)
  • Type: Numismatics - Coinage
  • Rights: Museo Arqueológico Nacional
  • External Link: CERES
  • Medium: Silver
  • Emisor: Akragas
  • Cultural Context: Ancient Greece (Classical Period)
  • Ceca: Akragas

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