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Tetradrachm (Coin) Depicting a Charioteer

A work made of silver.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of silver.

Date:

5th century BCE

Artist:

Greek; Rhegium, Italy

About this artwork

The front (obverse) of this coin depicts a seated charioteer, bearded, riding behind two mules walking right; in the field below is an olive leaf. The back (reverse) of the coin depicts a hare leaping to the right.

When Anaxilas, son of Cretines, seized power at Rhegium (modern Reggio Calabria in southern Italy) in 494 BCE, along with parts of Sicily soon after, he adopted the image of a leaping hare on his coinage as early as 480 BCE. Aristotle (quoted by Pollux, Onomasticon 5.75) reported that Anaxilas introduced hares to Sicily for the sport of hunting and also that he was victorious in the Olympic games. The image of his mule-chariot (biga) on the front of the coin commemorates this victory. The olive leaf in the field below the chariot symbolizes the olive crown awarded to victors at the Olympic Games. The hare may also symbolize the speed of Anaxilas’ chariot.

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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Culture

Ancient Greek

Title

Tetradrachm (Coin) Depicting a Charioteer

Origin

Reggio di Calabria

Date

Struck 500 BCE–401 BCE

Medium

Silver

Inscriptions

Reverse: RΕCΙΝΟΝ

Dimensions

Diam. 2.6 cm; 15.48 g

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne

Reference Number

1940.7

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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