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.


485/478 BC


Greek, minted in Syracuse, Sicily

About this artwork

The Olympic Games
The official record of quadrennial games honoring the supreme Greek god Zeus at a sanctuary dedicated to him at Olympia began in 776 B.C. With few interruptions, they took place every four years for about 1,100 years. In A.D. 394, the Christian emperor Theodosius I (r. 379–95) 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 B.C. Three years later he became ruler of the city.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 151


Ancient Greek


Tetradrachm (Coin) Depicting Quadriga with Bearded Charioteer


Ancient Greece


485 BC–478 BC




Diam. 2.4 cm; 16.34 g

Credit Line

Gift of William F. Dunham

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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