About this artwork
The front (obverse) of this coin depicts the head of Arethusa facing to the head, her head circled by dolphins. On the back (reverse) is a charioteer with a winged Nike flying above to crown horses with a wreath.
To escape the unwanted attentions of the river god Alpheus, the nymph Arethusa swam under the sea to the island of Sicily, where she found sanctuary. Arethusa’s path was said to explain the freshwater spring that miraculously bubbled into the nymph’s pool and that still exists in Syracuse. When this coin was issued, Syracuse was one of the most powerful cities in the Mediterranean basin. Local civic pride was emboldened by a series of ambitious tyrants, who enlarged the city’s territory and also encouraged the arts.
- Ancient Greek
- Tetradrachm (Coin) Depicting Arethusa
- Ancient Greece
- 474 BCE–450 BCE
- Diam. 2.6 cm; 16.95 g
- Gift of William F. Dunham