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Tetradrachm (Coin) Depicting Quadriga with Bearded Charioteer

A work made of silver.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of silver.

Date:

485-478 BCE

Artist:

Greek, minted in Syracuse, Sicily

About this artwork

The official record of quadrennial games honoring the supreme Greek god Zeus at a sanctuary dedicated to him at Olympia began in 776 BCE. With few interruptions, they took place every four years for about 1,100 years. In 394 CE, the Christian emperor Theodosius I (reigned 379–395) abolished them as pagan rites.
The most prestigious competition remained the footrace, but eventually it was supplanted in popularity by the horse races. Horses were symbols of socioeconomic status, since only the privileged could afford to buy, feed, and train them and transport their teams and trainers to Olympia every four years. In time, many of the victors in the horse races included kings and tyrants.

Gelon of Syracuse minted this coin to commemorate his victory in the four-horse chariot race in 488 BCE. Three years later he became ruler of the city.

Status

On View, Gallery 151

Department

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Culture

Ancient Greek

Title

Tetradrachm (Coin) Depicting Quadriga with Bearded Charioteer

Origin

Ancient Greece

Date

485 BCE–478 BCE

Medium

Silver

Dimensions

Diam. 2.4 cm; 16.34 g

Credit Line

Gift of William F. Dunham

Reference Number

1920.722

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/130141/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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