Sicilian Silver Tetradrachm - C.2041
Origin: City of Messana
Circa: 420 BC to 413 BC
Obverse: The Nymph Messana Driving a Biga Drawn by Mules
Reverse: Hare Jumping to the Right, Dolphin Swimming Below
The ancient city of Messana (modern Messina) is situated on the Strait of Messina, opposite the Italian mainland on the island of Sicily. The city has remained an important Mediterranean seaport since its founding in the late eighth century B.C. by Greek colonists. Originally named Zancle, the city was captured in the 5th century B.C. by Anaxilas of Rhegium, another Sicilian stronghold, and renamed Messana. It became involved in several wars, fighting over maritime domination against Syracuse and Carthage, and was taken in 282 B.C. by mercenaries called Mamertines. The Romans answered an appeal for help from the Mamertines and intervened in Sicily, thus precipitating the first of the Punic Wars. Messina was subsequently allied with Rome, and it shared the history of the rest of Sicily.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether currency in the age we live or an artifact of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This coin is more than an artifact; it is a memorial to an ancient culture passed down from the hands of one generation to another, from one civilization to another. - (C.2041)