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Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysius I, Tetradrachm

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Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysius I, Tetradrachm (obverse) Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysius I, Tetradrachm (reverse)

From the time of their first issue, Syracusan tetradrachms bore on their obverse a quadriga, a four-horse racing chariot. On earlier coins, the horses had been depicted walking the race was already over. From 425 BC on, however, the Syracusan die cutters began to illustrate the race itself, with the four horses in full gallop.

On this coin there is even a lost wheel under the hindlegs of the inside horse. It does not belong to the chariot on the coin but to a less successful competitor as is indicted by Nike, the goddess of victory, who is flying towards the charioteer, handing him the wreath intended for the winner.

The reverse of the tertadrachm depicts another Syracusan emblem, the head of the nymph Arethusa surrounded by four dolphins.

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