405-367 BC Dionysius AV 10 Litrae

Struck ca. 405 BC. SYPA (retrograde), head of Athena left, wearing crested Attic helmet / Aegis with gorgoneion, all within incuse circle. HGC 2, 1290 (Second Democracy). Rizzo, pl. XLVIII, n. 6. Weber 1608. SNG ANS 316. Minor die breaks, otherwise nicely centered and pleasing. Stunning and a great value.

Dionysius I or Dionysius the Elder (c. 432 – 367 BC) was a Greek tyrant of Syracuse, in what is now Sicily, southern Italy. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot—cruel, suspicious and vindictive. He fought a war with Carthage from 397 BC to 392 BC with mixed success; his attempts to drive the Carthaginians entirely out of the island of Sicily failed, and at his death they were masters of at least a third of it. In the Peloponnesian War, he joined the side of the Spartans and assisted them with mercenaries. According to some sources, after gaining a prize for one of his tragedies, he was so elated that he drank himself to death. According to others, he was poisoned by his physicians at the instigation of his son, Dionysius the Younger, who succeeded him as ruler of Syracuse.


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