SYRACUSE in Sicily 425BC Ancient Greek Coin Nymph Arethusa Dolphins i36901

Item: i36901
Authentic Ancient Coin of:

Greek city of Syracuse in Sicily
Bronze 18mm (3.32 grams) Struck 425-357 B.C.
Reference: Sear 1186; B.M.C. 2.243
Head of Arethusa left, hair bound with ampyx and sphendone; behind, dolphin.
ΣΥ - ΡΑ - in the upper quarter of wheel with four spokes; dolphin in each of the lower quarters.

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Arethusa (Ἀρέθουσα) means "the waterer". In Greek mythology, she was a nymph and daughter of Nereus (making her a Nereid ), and later became a fountain on the island of Ortygia in Syracuse , Sicily .

An engraving by Bernard Picart depicting Alpheus in his attempt to capture Arethusa.

The myth of her transformation begins when she came across a clear stream and began bathing, not knowing it was the river god Alpheus . He fell in love during their encounter, but she fled after discovering his presence and intentions, as she wished to remain a chaste attendant of Artemis . After a long chase, she prayed to her goddess to ask for protection. Artemis hid her in a cloud, but Alpheus was persistent. She began to perspire profusely from fear, and soon transformed into a stream. Artemis then broke the ground allowing Arethusa another attempt to flee. Her

During Demeter 's search for her daughter Persephone , Arethusa entreated Demeter to discontinue her punishment of Sicily for her daughter's disappearance. She told the goddess that while traveling in her stream below the earth, she saw her daughter looking sad as the queen of Hades . [4]

Arethusa occasionally appeared on coins as a young girl with a net in her hair and dolphins around her head. These coins were common around Ortygia, the location in which she ends up after fleeing from Alpheus.

The Roman writer Ovid called Arethusa by the name "Alpheias", because her stream was believed to have a subterranean communication with the river Alpheius , in Peloponnesus .

Syracuse pronounced , Sicilian : Sarausa , Ancient Greek : Συράκουσαι - transliterated: Syrakousai ) is a historic city in southern Italy , the capital of the province of Syracuse . The city is famous for its rich Greek history, culture , amphitheatres , architecture and association to Archimedes , playing an important role in ancient times as one of the top powers of the Mediterranean world; it is over 2,700 years old. Syracuse is located in the south-east corner of the island of Sicily , right by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea .

The city was founded by Ancient Greek Corinthians and became a very powerful city-state . Syracuse was allied with Sparta and Corinth , exerting influence over the entire Magna Grecia area of which it was the most important city. Once described by Cicero as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all", it later became part of the Roman Republic and Byzantine Empire . After this Palermo overtook it in importance, as the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily . Eventually the kingdom would be united with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification of 1860.

In the modern day, the city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the Necropolis of Pantalica . In the central area, the city itself has a population of around 125,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Siracusans , and the local language spoken by its inhabitants is the Sicilian language . Syracuse is mentioned in the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles book at 28:12 as Paul stayed there. [2] The patron saint of the city is Saint Lucy ; she was born in Syracuse and her feast day, Saint Lucy's Day , is celebrated on 13 December.

Greek period

Syracuse and its surrounding area have been inhabited since ancient times, as shown by the findings in the villages of Stentinello, Ognina, Plemmirio, Matrensa, Cozzo Pantano ...

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