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Monetary History of Sicily


Silver Tetradrachm 480-475 BC


The city state of Leontinoi was found in 729 BC by Chalkidans who migrated from Naxos. The monetary system of this city state did not take form until about 480 BC when it came under the rule of Gelon the tyrant of Syracuse. As we can easily see from the above illustration, the influence of Syracuse upon the style of Leontinoi’s early coinage is unmistakable.


Silver Tetradrachm 475-466 BC

For seven years, Gelon sought to rule as much of Sicily as he could making Syracuse his seat of power. Under Gelon’s rule (485-478 BC), Syracuse rose to become the greatest of the Sicilian city states. In 480 BC, Carthage invaded Sicily, but was defeated by Gelon at Himera. This great victory over the Carthaginians brought Syracuse to an unquestionable dominant position within Sicily. But with the death of Gelon, Leontinoi coinage began to take on its own unique characteristics of a Lion’s head.

leon466Silver Tetradrachm 466-425 BC

Leontinoi remained under the firm control of Syracuse until 466 BC, when she regained her independence and its coinage reflected this new found freedom. The charioteer and his quadriga, a Syracuse design denoting denomination, disappears from the coinage being replaced by the laurel head of Apollo. It was during this period of independence when the city came alive and propered in Sicily.

In 422 BC, Leontinoi once again lapsed into becoming a dependent state of Syracuse. The once spectacular coinage of Leontinoi faded into history as it was replaced by the coinage of Syracuse.

Monetary System


480-475 BC

AR Tetradrachm

475-466 BC

AR Tetradrachm
AR Didrachm
AR Drachm
AR Obol
AR Hemilitron
AR Pentonkion
AR Hexas

466-425 BC

AR Tetradrachm
AR Drachm
AR Litra

425-422 BC

AR Tetradrachm

Circa 355 BC under Syracuse

AR Stater (Corithian Style Time Dion)

Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong