Description:This ancient coin was minted in the Greek city of Syracuse during the rule of King Hieron II. Syracuse was founded along the southeast coast of Sicily in 734 BC by Greek settlers from Corinth and the city soon flourished. Hieron II seized power in 275 BC and inaugurated a period of 50 years of peace and prosperity. During this time, Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. Under his rule lived the most famous Syracusan, the mathematician and natural philosopher Archimedes.
This coin features Persephone, a vegetation goddess associated with the spring season. The reverse side shows a bull charging left with a club above. 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, which forced her to return to Hades for four months each year. This corresponds with the winter months when the Earth becomes colder and less fertile.