Akragas, Sicily (hippocamp coll.)
[b]Akragas, Sicily (hippocamp coll.; 425-406 BC.)
[u]Obv[/u]: Eagle with head lowered and wings spread standing right on dead hare; AKPA legend in left field (obscured).
[u]Rev[/u]: Large fresh water crab with hippocamp below, facing right; six pellets around exerge.
[u]Attribution[/u]: SNG ANS 1024; Calciati I 170, (Group 1) 19
[u]Provenance[/u]: ex. James Joy "Isles of Greece" Collection, M&M 21(#60), 5.24.07; ex. Davissons 5(#45), 1995
[u]Weight[/u]: 11.59 gm
[u]Maximal Diameter[/u]: 26.92 mm
[u]Notes[/u]: Founded in 581 BC by people from Gela, Rhodes, Crete and other islands. The name of the city was after the river Akragas, and it was one of the wealthiest cities of Sicily, prospering from its agricultural exports to Carthage. It reached its period of greatest influence under the tyrant Theron, 488-472 B.C., whose building program included a colossal Temple of Olympian Zeus. The city was destroyed by Carthage in 406 B.C. According to legend, the philosopher Empedocles (5C BC), a resident of Akragas, died by leaping into the crater of Etna attempting to prove his divine powers (and, as in confirmation of this, Etna is supposed to have thrown back his shoes, which had turned to bronze).
The crab (fresh water crab of the species Telphusa fluvialitis), which is used on coins of the city, is generally believed to be a symbol of the river god Akragas. The other symbol on Akragantine coins is the (sea) eagle, the sacred animal of Zeus. This is one example of three known hemilitron reverse dies to feature a hippocamp. Other die variants have cuttlefish, crayfish, and Skylla in the same location below the fresh water crab.