New Coin from Akragas!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by The Meat man, May 27, 2023.

  1. The Meat man

    The Meat man Supporter! Supporter

    The ancient city of Akragas came into being around 582 B.C., as a colony founded by Greeks from Gela, a city about 40 miles to the east. The site was well-chosen, strategically located on a high plateau near the Hypsas and Acragas rivers and controlling a vast and rich agricultural area.

    By the 5th century B.C., Akragas had become the second-largest city on the island (behind Syracuse), with a population of perhaps 200,000 people, and had become a leader in the art and culture of the Classical period. Around this time, what has become known as “The Valley of the Temples” was constructed, described by Wikipedia as “a large sacred area on the south side of the ancient city where seven monumental Greek temples in the Doric style were constructed during the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Now excavated and partially restored, they constitute some of the largest and best-preserved ancient Greek buildings outside of Greece itself.”

    But the artistic brilliance of the citizens of Akragas was not limited to temples and monuments. Their coinage, too, became showpieces of high art. Most famously, of course, are the large silver tetradrachms and decadrachms. These coins are among the most famous and well-known in the world and can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at auctions. The decadrachm and tetradrachm rank #8 and #21 respectively in Harlan J. Berk’s book 100 Greatest Ancient Coins. According to Berk,

    “Virtually all the Acragas coins struck in the quarter century after 430 B.C. are amazing works of art.” - Harlan J. Berk, 100 Greatest Ancient Coins (p. 39)

    But the more humble coins - the bronzes and the small-denomination silver coins - also show the same degree of artistry, and offer an affordable option for those not blessed with a 7-figure income.

    What I find so appealing about these coins is the overall composition - no gods or goddesses, just beautifully rendered images of different natural creatures (okay, the Skylla is an exception). Crabs, eagles, rabbits, mollusks, shrimp, different kinds of fish, grasshoppers - all appear on the coins in lifelike poses. It just seems that the city had a deep affinity for nature that I find charming.

    In summary, here is my latest coin from Akragas, which inspired this post. While it won't get an MS70 grading, I find the well-centered, evenly worn and toned surfaces very appealing and it's without doubt one of my favorite Greek coins:


    Please feel free to post up your own coins from Akragas, or any other thoughts and comments!
    Sulla80, svessien, Tall Paul and 14 others like this.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Wonderful. I still don't own any crab coins.
    The Meat man likes this.
  4. H8_modern

    H8_modern Attracted to small round-ish art

    One of my favorite types too



    SICILY, Akragas. Circa 500-495 BC. AR Didrachm (19mm, 8.17 g, 7h). Sea eagle standing left / Crab within incuse circle. Jenkins, Gela, Group IIc; HGC 2, 93. Near VF, toned.

    From the Colin E. Pitchfork Collection. Ex Sotherby’s (22 May 1975), lot 20.
    Sulla80, GinoLR, Bing and 2 others like this.
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