ART FROM ANCIENT LANDS

Sicilian Silver Tetradrachm - C.2236
Origin: City of Akragas
Circa: 465 BC to 450 BC

Collection: Numismatics
Style: Sicilian
Medium: Silver

Obverse: Standing Eagle Facing Left
Reverse: Crab

Akragas claimed the legendary Daedalus as its founder, but in fact the city seems to have been established by a group of Rhodian and Cretan colonists from the city of Gela at ca. 582 B.C. The settlers named the city after the river along its eastern side. Under the tyrant Phalaris, ca. 570 B.C., the city began to expand its territory and by the end of the reign of Theron, a century later, the city-state had reached the height of its military and political power. Theron had led the city to victory over the Carthaginians in 480 B.C. and initiated a major building program in Akragas that included an extensive water system designed by the architect Phaiax. The city continued to prosper until the end of the 5th century B.C. In 406, after a siege of eight months, Akragas was conquered and completely destroyed by Carthage.
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 shining vestige of a city-state’s dwindling independence passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation. - (C.2236)


 

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