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Area/Ruler: Sicily - Syracuse
Reigned: 478 BC - 475 BC
Denomination: AR Tetradrachm
Obverse: Slow quadriga driven right by male charioteer. Nike flies above to crown horses.
Reverse: "Head of Artemis-Arethusa right, four dolphins around. "ΣVRAKOΣION"
Reference: SNG Ans 107
Weight: 17.3 gms
Diameter: 23.4 mm


Colonists from the Greek city-state of Corinth founded Syracuse in 734 BC. In 485 BC Gelon, tyrant of Gela, made himself master of Syracuse, which then became his capital. Gelon achieved a famous victory over the Carthaginians at Himera in 480 BC.

He was succeeded by his brother Hiero I, a celebrated patron of the arts. In 466 BC the democrats expelled Hiero's brother and successor, Thrasybulus, and for 60 years Syracuse had a free and democratic government.

Hostilities with the city of Segesta led in 415 BC to a two-year war with Athens in which the Syracusans, with the help of the Spartans saw off invading Athenians and contributed decisively to the final Spartan victory (404 BC) in the Peloponnesian War.

The conquests of Carthage in Sicily at the end of the 5th century BC threatened Syracuse, but under Dionysius the Elder, who became tyrant of the city in 405 BC, Syracuse became the chief power in Sicily.

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