Sicily, Gela, Onkia


Sicily, Gela, Onkia (obverse) Sicily, Gela, Onkia (reverse)

This small coin from the Sicilian city of Gela represented the smallest value in the monetary system after the introduction of bronze coins in Sicily. The single pellet in the exergue underneath the bull marks the coin as 1 onkia. The onkia was based on the Sicilian litra, which was divided into 12 onkiai. Along with the onkia there were coins of three, four, five and six onkiai issued. They were all marked with an according number of pellets.

The bull on the obverse, the inscription ΓEΛAΣ and the head of the horned river god clearly allocate this coin to Gela. Despite the coin's small size, the bull and the head are delicately represented – it is clearly the work of a remarkably gifted die-cutter.


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