Silver for Syracuse: The Athenian defeat and the “Signing Artists”

Mirko Canevaro, Keith Rutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article discusses literary and epigraphical evidence for some of the sources of silver for the Syracusans after their victory over the Athenians in 413. Thucydides tells us (6.31.3–5) that the Athenians took a great deal of coined money to Sicily in 415; he refers also (7.82.1–3) to four hollow shields which were filled with money taken from Athenian captives in 413. Another substantial source of silver for the Syracusans must have been the captives themselves, and evidence from Thucydides, from Demosthenes Against Leptines and from IG I3, 125 shows that most of the prisoners did not in fact die in the Syracusan quarries, but that some were sold into slavery and others were ransomed and rescued. The silver Syracuse obtained from defeating the Athenians was hardly unremarkable, and provided the Syracusans with a solid base for their coinage in the following years. The discussion strongly supports a terminus post quem of 413 for the coinage of the 'Signing Artists' at Syracuse and elsewhere in Sicily.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalSchweizerische Numismatische Rundschau
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Numistatics
  • Peloponnesian War
  • Thucydides
  • Demosthenes
  • Signing artists
  • Syracuse
  • Athens


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