About this artwork
The official record of quadrennial games honoring the supreme Greek god Zeus at a sanctuary dedicated to him at Olympia began in 776 BCE. With few interruptions, they took place every four years for about 1,100 years. In 394 CE, the Christian emperor Theodosius I (reigned 379–395) abolished them as pagan rites.
The most prestigious competition remained the footrace, but eventually it was supplanted in popularity by the horse races. Horses were symbols of socioeconomic status, since only the privileged could afford to buy, feed, and train them and transport their teams and trainers to Olympia every four years. In time, many of the victors in the horse races included kings and tyrants.
Gelon of Syracuse minted this coin to commemorate his victory in the four-horse chariot race in 488 BCE. Three years later he became ruler of the city.
- Currently Off View
- Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium
- Ancient Greek
- Tetradrachm (Coin) Depicting Quadriga with Bearded Charioteer
- Ancient Greece
- 485 BCE–478 BCE
- Diam. 2.4 cm; 16.34 g
- Gift of William F. Dunham