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    Dawn Of Classicism

    SICILY. Syracuse. Second Democracy (ca. 466-405 BC). AR tetradrachm (26mm, 17.31 gm, 11h).  Struck. ca. 460-450 BC. Charioteer driving walking quadriga right, holding kentron and reins; Nike flying right above, crowning horses, ketos to right in exergue / ΣVRΑΚΟ-Σ-Ι-ΟΝ, head of Arethusa right, hair bound with pearl headband, wearing hoop earring and pearl necklace, four dolphins around. Boehringer 471. Dewing 788; Gulbenkian 261; SNG ANS 145 (all from same dies). A near-perfect example of this rare transitional type, deeply struck in sound metal and well centered on an exceptionally broad flan. Choice About Uncirculated. NGC Choice AU? 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The California Collection. Ex Comery Collection (ROMA Numismatics, 23 March 2013), lot 117. 

    Following the eviction of the Tyrant Thrasyboulos, the Syracusans adopted a new constitutional government called the Second Democracy, although it had a decided oligargic flavor. The change is reflected in the city's coinage, which shifts from a "severe" archaic depiction of Arethusa to a more humanized, "classical" view of the Ortygeian nymph. This early classical rendering retains the same hairstyle shown in the previous era, but her facial features display the placid plasticity that can be noted on the Parthenon frieze and other near-contemporary artworks. 


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    January, 2015
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