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 BC. With few interruptions, they took place every four years for about 1,100 years. In AD 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.
Anaxilas, tyrant of Messana and Rhegium, minted this coin to celebrate the victory of his two-mule chariot team in either 484 or 480 BC.
- Currently Off View
- Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium
- Ancient Greek
- Tetradrachm (Coin) Portraying Biga with Mules
- Ancient Greece
- Struck 484 BCE–476 BCE
- Diam. 2.6 cm; 16.37 g
- Gift of William F. Dunham