Agathokles, 317-278 BC
AE23. 8.47g, 23.2mm
MINTED: SICILY, Syracuse, time of Agathokles, struck circa 317-310 BC
REF: CNS 96-7; HGC 2, 1444
OBVERSE: ΣΥPAKOΣIΩN, Head of Kore-Persephone left, wreathed with grain; grain ear to right.
REVERSE: Bull charging left; dolphin above and below, monogram above.
Fine. Somewhat rough, dark brown surfaces.
Agathokles was an exile of Syracuse who became a mercenary leader in southern Italy, later returning with a small army to seize power in the wealthiest and most prominent city in Sicily. From 317-305 BC, he ruled as tyrant of Syracuse, and after he forced the withdrawal of the Carthaginians from Sicily by invading their homeland in North Africa, he had himself declared king over the entire island. Thereafter, Agathokles would work at building up his image as a great Greek ruler, marrying Theoxene, stepdaughter of Ptolemy I, the Hellenistic King of Egypt, and later betrothing his daughter Lanassa to King Pyrrhos of Epeiros. In his later years, Agathokles sought to bring the Greek cities of southern Italy under his rule, though his success here was mixed. He was contemplating launching a new invasion of Carthage when he died in 289 BC in his mid-50s, either from a disease or from being poisoned by his favorite slave, Mainon.
SICILY, Syracuse . Agathokles, 317-289 BC . AE23 . Butting bull
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