Sicily, Syracuse, Dionysius I, Tetradrachm

Around 425 BC, some audacious Syracuse die cutters began to experiment with movement and perspective. The traditionally rigid compositions of the coin motifs were given up, and the illustrations became fanciful and vibrant.

This tetradrachm is a masterpiece of this new style. The horses pulling the carriage gallop thunderously, but with elegant and smooth movement. Their heads are no longer aligned, thus creating a dynamic feeling. On the reverse is the finely modelled head of the nymph Arethusa. A crown of reed woven into her hair, and four dolphins swim playfully around it.