Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Unknown Artist


Decadrachm of Syracuse; Obverse: Four-horse chariot (quadriga) and driver; winged Nike flying above; cuirass, grieves and helmet (in exergue); Reverse: Head of the nymph Arethusa surrounded by dolphins

Creation Date

412 BC-405 BC


5th century BC

Object Type


Creation Place

Ancient Mediterranean, Sicily (Greek)

Medium and Support


Credit Line

Gift of Edward Perry Warren, Esq., Honorary Degree, 1926


Public Domain

Accession Number

During the rule of Dionysius I (ca. 405–367 BCE), a beautiful series of large silver coins was minted by the Greek colony of Syracuse, the chief city of Sicily. This coin was struck with dies prepared by master Sicilian engraver Euainetos. Though this example is unsigned, the artist’s distinct style permits a confident attribution. The reverse (tails) of this large denomination presents the portrait in profile of the sea nymph Arethusa surrounded by four dolphins. From its earliest examples, it is evident that Syracuse preferred a circular format for its coins.

Keywords: Greek  

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