Description:In 734 BC, Greek settlers from Corinth founded Syracuse along the southeast coast of Sicily and the city soon flourished. This powerful city-state was well known for its rich Greek culture, amphitheatres and beautiful architecture. The most famous Syracusan was the mathematician and natural philosopher Archimedes, who was born here in 287 BC. This coin was minted in Syracuse, during the time of the tyrant Hicetas. His 9-year rule was consumed by the endless wars with Carthage. However, the Siege of Syracuse in 278 BC, was the last attempt by Carthage to conquer the city of Syracuse. With the assistance of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, the Carthaginians retreated and the city enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity.
This coin features the goddess Persephone, who is associated with the spring season. The reverse shows a charioteer driving a 2-horse chariot or biga. Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, the harvest goddess, who controlled the seasons. In the famous Greek myth, Persephone became the queen of the underworld when Hades abducted her from the Earth and brought her into the underworld. Life came to a standstill, as the depressed Demeter searched the Earth night and day for her lost daughter. Finally, Zeus could not put up with the dying Earth and forced Hades to return Persephone. But before she was released, Hades tricked Persephone into eating a number of pomegranate seeds, the food of the underworld. This forced Persephone to return to Hades for four months each year, corresponding with the winter months on Earth.