TYRANTS OF THE TYRRHENIAN & ADRIATIC SEAS
The largest portion of this Italian collection is focused on coins of the island of Sicily, eternally connected with the Greek sea monster called the Charybdis, after which a whirlpool in the Strait of Messina was named, a threat to sailors since time immemorial. The ancient Greeks encountered these currents, navigating them in order both to found colonies and to trade with cities, many of them on the south coast of Italy. Sicily itself is volcanic. The first coin associated with this region was made in the 5th century BC by the Greek tyrant Gelon. It was followed by artistic coins of various rulers who conquered the principal city, Syracuse—some of the most famous of all ancient tyrants. Following these were centuries of coins made by Byzantine emperors, Arab invaders, German and Italian kings of Sicily, and eventually Spanish and French invaders.