The last tyrant of Syracuse
SICILY. Syracuse. Hieronymos, 215-214 BC. 5 Litrai (Silver, 17.5 mm, 4.26 g, 7 h). Diademed head of Hieronymos to left. Rev. BAΣIΛEΩΣ - IEPΩNYMOY Winged thunderbolt; above, ΞA. Holloway 60 (same dies). SNG Lloyd 1566. Very attractively toned and with an elegant portrait of an unworthy ruler. Extremely fine.
From an American collection and that of A. Moretti, Numismatica Ars Classica P, 12 May 2005, 1284.
Hieronymos succeeded to the throne of Syracuse as a boy of 15 when his grandfather Hieron II, a long-time ally of the Romans, died in 215 at the age of 90. Impressed by Hannibal’s victories against the Romans at the rivers Ticinus and Trebia, at Lake Trasimene and, most famously, at Cannae, the young king and his advisors decided to break the alliance with Rome and to side with Carthage. The Senate reacted quickly by sending an army under the command of Marcellus to Sicily to besiege and punish Syracuse for its treachery. Hieronymos was soon killed by pro-Roman Syracusans, but it took the legions three full years until, in 212, they were able to storm the walls and sack city.
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