about ancient nomos

Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

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Greek, Syracuse – 317 BC


From Ancient Galleries

Greek, Syracuse – 317 BC

Obverse: Wreathed bust of Goddess Artemis facing left, three dolphins around.
Reverse: Charioteer driving quadriga holding kentron and reins, triskeles above.

Obv. Wreathed head of Artemis-Arethusa facing left, wearing necklace and earring; three dolphins around, NK below. Rev. Charioteer driving quadriga left, holding kentron and reins; triskeles above; in exergue, ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ above the AI monogram.

The ancient Magna Graecia city of Surakos (Syracuse) is located on the southeastern coast of Sicily on the small island of Ortygia in the Ionian Sea. The ancient city was thought to have been discovered by Greek colonists during the mid-eighth century BC. Within three centuries, Surakos grew into a prosperous Magna Graecian city-state, known for having an extensive sea trade, great temples of Arethusa and Apollo, and arguably the most artistic and beautiful of ancient Greek coinage. Towards the end of the fifth century, the Surakos standard tetradrachm and dekadrachm denominations began featuring the image of Arethusa, the beautiful goddess pursued by Alpheios, but who was soon jealously transformed by Artemis into a naiad water nymph. Her mythos was adopted by Surakos and her legend became known as the patron goddess of the Ortygia freshwater springs. This magnificent specimen was issued during the reign of Agothokles between 317-310 BC and pays homage to the high classical Syracusian coin die engravers Euainetos and Kimon. The obverse depicts an idealized bust of Arethusa facing left with three Ionian Sea dolphins encircling her portrait. She is wearing a pearl necklace, triple pendant earring and is rendered with abundant flowing hair held neatly together with a reed wreath ampyx. The NK abbreviation appears below her neck. The reverse depicts four galloping horses (quadriga) pulling a two wheel chariot being lead by a Charioteer holding four reins in his left hand and kentron in his right hand. Hovering over the racing quadriga is triskeles, the symbolic Greek figure consisting a three legs and feet radiating (rotating) for a central point. The Greek legend; ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ, meaning coinage from Surakos (Syracuse), and the monogram ΑΙ, both appear below the ground line in exergue. Interestingly, the galloping horse drawn chariot became a common motif depicted on many Sicilian coins across the region and was to be later adopted by the republican Roman world.

Value: Tetradrachm. Metal: AR Silver. Weight: 17.18 grams. Mint: Syracuse. Date: 317-310 BC.
Attribution: Ierardi 41 (O8/R22); BAR Issue 2; SNG ANS 637 var. (NK ligate); SNG Fritzwilliam 1329; SNG Delepierre 701; SNG Lockett 1002 (same dies); SNG Ashmolean 2065 (same dies); Hirsch 661 (same dies); CNG 87, 237 (same dies); Weber, Plate 65, 1668 (same dies).

Legend, Documentation and Attribution