Sicily, Syracuse - Invasion and Civil War

Article Image

After Agathokles' assassination by Maenon, the latter put the former tyrant's grandson to death and seized command of his army that was then besieging Aetna, directing it instead against Syracuse. Hiketas was entrusted with the command of a sizeable force by the Syracusans to defend the city. Despite later seizing supreme power, Hiketas apparently never styled himself as king. During his nine year reign he defeated Phintias of Akragas and took that city, then turned his attention to the Carthaginians. He was however dealt a severe defeat in battle against their forces at the river Terias and as a result was expelled from Syracuse by Thoinon, one of his officers. Thoinon however faced opposition from both Sosistratos, a fellow officer, and from the Carthaginian forces that had defeated Hiketas. In this desperate time of civil war and foreign invasion before Pyrrhos would arrive and be hailed saviour by the Syracusans, there was apparently no time to produce new dies at the mint, and thus the old dies of Hiketas were reused - with his name hastily obliterated.

Sicily, Syracuse AV Dekadrachm. Thoinon and Sosistratos, 278 BC. Head of Persephone to left, wearing wreath of grain leaves, pendant earring and pearl necklace; ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ before, bee behind / Nike driving galloping quadriga to right, holding reins and kentron; crescent moon above, Θ below, ΕΠΙ ΙΚΕΤΑ erased from the die in exergue. Buttrey, Morgantina, 5-R (same dies); SNG Munich 1292; Nomos 8, 22 October 2013, 58 (same dies). 4.27g, 17mm, 9h.

Scattered surface marks; near Mint State. Very Rare.