Description:This ancient coin was minted in the historic Greek city of Syracuse. In 734 BC, Greek settlers from Corinth founded Syracuse along the southeast coast of Sicily and the city soon flourished. The powerful city-state of Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity and 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. The city enjoyed long periods of peace and prosperity; however, the expanding Roman Republic besieged the city in 214 BC and Syracuse finally fell to the Romans in 212 BC. Under Roman rule, Syracuse continued to mint their coinage for several more decades.
This ancient coin features the laureate head of Zeus, who in Greek mythology, oversaw the universe and was the "Father of gods and men." He ruled as king of the gods on Mount Olympus and as god of the sky and thunder with the power to hurl lightning bolts as a weapon. Known for his escapades, Zeus fathered many godly and heroic children including Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus and Hercules.
The reverse side of this coin shows winged Nike driving a 2-horse chariot known as a biga. Nike, the Greek goddess of strength, speed and victory, was a close companion of Zeus. It was believed that Nike would fly around the battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame.