DM 332 Classical Zoo-Italy & Syracuse

The Classical Zoo – Greek Colonies

The Greek colonies in southern Italy and Sicily began using coins for trade in the middle of the 6th century B.C. When rulers of colonial city-states took control of minting, symbols of animals appeared on their coins. For example, the southern Italy colony of Sybaris minted coins decorated with an owl on the back (reverse). Animals were
also used to identify the coins of specific regions of ancient Greece. This Historical Collection includes two ancient animal coins of Greek colonies in southern Italy. These include:

Sybaris Stater
Sybaris was founded in 720 B.C. It was the most richest and most important Greek colony in Italy until its destruction in 510 B.C. This stater was made between 530 and 510 B.C. The obverse (front) shows a bull standing left looking right. The reverse (back), shows a mirror image of the front except the bull is standing right and looking left.(Sear 245)

 Didrachm of Taras
Between 272-235 B.C. Taras was the most important Greek city-state in southern Italy. Reverse of the coin shows Taras seated on a dolphin facing left. The obverse shows a naked boy seated on a horse facing left. (Sear 374)

During the 5th century, Sicilian coinage reached “the heights of artistic brilliance unsurpassed by any other series in Greek numismatics.” ( David Sear, Greek Coins and heir Values, vol.1.) This Collection includes three animal coins of ancient Sicily:

Tetradrachm of Myron
The city of Akragas was a Sicilian city of great wealth and importance. This is an excellent example of the Greek engraving art of Myron. The reverse of the coin shows two eagles with wings spread standing over a rabbit. The obverse shows a chariot drawn by four horses driven by young male. Struck between 413 and 406 B.C. (Sear 750)

Tetradrachm of Akragas
This replica tetradrachm was struck between 430 to 413 B.C. The reverse shows a crab with a large fish below. The obverse shows an eagle with spread wings over a rabbit lying on a rock with corn grain and scallop shell. (Sear 747)

Tetradrachm of Massara
Massara was a Greek city-state founded in southern Italy. This coin was struck between 425-396 B.C. The tetradrachm reverse shows a hare bounding left with seahorse below facing right. The obverse shows a biga driven by city-state goddess of Massara crowned by Nike above. (Sear 853)


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