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by Archaeology Newsroom

A study of the gold coins of Pyrrhus that have the trophy-bearing Nike on the back

The coins bearing Nike on them are believed to be of Syracusian origin, belonging to the years between 278BC and 276BC, that is the period during which Pyrrhus was in Sicily. Nike symbolizes royal success and divine protection in triumphs past and yet to come. Stylistically the Pyrrhus coins’ Nike is influenced by the Nike on Alexander the Great’s coins but also differs in finesse and in the dynamism she expresses on the Pyrrhus coin. Here Nike is presented at the innovative three-quarter angle, wearing a gown which is both well-presented and elegant in itself. It is a Hellenistic style tunic with a long veil tying under the breast.