This paper discusses Hellenistic coinage in Sicily and focuses on the period from the Second Punic War. My recent research has revealed an evolution in three steps.
1) Probably shortly after the outbreak of the Second Punic war, coins were imported from Rome to Sicily. Some years later, coins looking like Roman coins were produced in Sicily itself.
2) Coins with magistrates’ names in Latin, probably of quaestors, were struck in Western Sicily between c. 190/180-140/130 BC whereas in Eastern Sicily coins with the Greek ethnic prevail. This distinction reflects the old political division of the island between territories of the Carthaginian epicracy and territories under Syracusan influence. The two main Western coin series are characterised by wreaths and warriors, reflecting Roman domination; the Eastern series includes issues with value marks, adopting the practice in Roman coinage.
3) Towards the end of the second century BC coins in both parts of Sicily started to be signed by the cities, with their ethnic in Greek, a practice which continued throughout the first century BC and into the early imperial period when the mints closed their doors under Tiberius. The iconographies of the coins with ethnic refer mainly to local gods and goddesses, and to local heroes.
This sudden change, radical in Western Sicilian coinage, is most probably due to an administrative reform, possibly the lex Rupilia which after the First Slave Revolt (135-132 BC) conceded more autonomy to the cities, whose position in the structure of the local administration was strengthened, a phenomenon reflected in the architectural layout of some cities. Coinage thus seems to reflect the wider evolutions of ‘cityscapes’.