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“They say that there was a hunter called Alpheius, who fell in love with Arethusa, who was herself a huntress. Arethusa, unwilling to marry, crossed, they say, to the island opposite Syracuse called Ortygia, and there turned from a woman to a spring.”

Pausanias (AD 110-180), Description of Greece V.7.2
Syracuse silver tetradrachm
£5,100
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“They say that there was a hunter called Alpheius, who fell in love with Arethusa, who was herself a huntress. Arethusa, unwilling to marry, crossed, they say, to the island opposite Syracuse called Ortygia, and there turned from a woman to a spring.”

Pausanias (AD 110-180), Description of Greece V.7.2
Syracuse silver tetradrachm
£5,100
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Syracuse silver tetradrachm

Circa 415-405 BC

The obverse with a racing four-horse chariot, the charioteer pulling at the reins whilst being crowned by the victory goddess Nike. The reverse with a remarkably bold portrait of the water nymph and tutelary deity of Syracuse, Arethusa, encircled by four dolphins.

One only needs to look at the beautiful coins of Syracuse to understand the prosperity and refinement of this ancient city, which grew from its foundation as a Corinthian colony in the eighth century BC to become the leading power of Sicily and one of the most illustrious cities of antiquity.

Weight: 16.35 g

Diameter: 24.40 mm

Provenance:

Feuardent Frères fixed price list, 19 November 1929, no. 3488. With French cultural property passport.

£5,100

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