Siculo-Punic, Zeugitana (War against Agathokles, Tyrant of Syracuse)
[B]Siculo-Punic, Zeugitana (War against Agathokles, Tyrant of Syracuse; 320-305 BC.)
[u]Obv[/u]: Reeded wreath head of Arethusa (Persephone) wearing triple pendant earring and necklace, facing left; three dolphins swimming around figure (only two visible); all within beaded circular border. Rusty die strike.
[u]Rev[/u]: Horse's head, facing left; palm tree in right field and partial Punic "People of the Camp" legend below horse; all within linear circular border. Exceptional die strike.
[u]Attribution[/u]: SNG Lloyd 1633; SNG Cop. 84; SNG Lockett 1065; Jenkins 52.
[u]Provenance[/u]: Dr. Martina Dieterle (9.12.05)
[u]Weight[/u]: 16.66 gm.
[u]Maximal Diameter[/u]: 26.0 mm
[u]Note[/u]: Carthage initially provided assistance to Agathokles when he became tyrant of Syracuse in 317 BC. However, the Carthaginians soon became alarmed after he captured several Greek cities in eastern Sicily. In 311 BC, Carthage defeated Agathokles’ army at Himera and initiated a siege of Syracuse. As a countermove, Agathokles and part of the army escaped from Syracuse in 310 BC, then invaded Africa. Initially allied with Ophellas, Ptolemy’s former governor who controlled Kyrenaika (Agathokles later had Ophellas murdered.), the forces of Syracuse plundered the fertile region around Carthage and laid siege to the city. The siege lasted until 307 BC, but Carthage was too well fortified. However, the strategy distracted Carthage enough that the siege of Syracuse was lifted. Agathokles returned to Syracuse to restore order after revolts in some of the Sicilian Greek cities. After he left, the Carthaginians were able to defeat the army that remained in Zeugitana. In 306 BC, the two sides concluded a treaty that again limited Carthaginian influence to western Sicily.
Arethusa is a nymph whose story is told in Ovid's Metamorphoses and who is the subject of the 1824 poem, Arethusa, by Percy Bysshe Shelley. According to the myth, the river god Alpheius fell in love with Arethusa after she bathed in his waters. Pursued by Alpheius, Arethusa prayed to Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt, to save her. Artemis answered Arethusa by spiriting her off to the island of Ortygia and transforming her into a spring. Undeterred by Artemis's interference, Alpheius flowed under the sea to Ortygia, where he united with Arethusa by mingling his waters with hers in the spring.