A Queen (nearly) Erased

MFA specimen
Reverse of the same.

We only know her name, Philistis, from her coins and an inscription from the theater in Syracuse:

But we assume that this passage from Polybius describes her:

“Hiero had observed that the dispatch of a Syracusan army on an expedition under the command of the supreme magistrates invariably resulted in quarrels among the leaders and the outbreaks of revolutionary activity of some kind. He also knew that of all his fellow Syracusans it was a certain Leptines who commanded most supporters and the highest prestige and was particularly popular with the masses. He therefore made a family alliance with Leptines by marrying his daughter, so that whenever he had to go away on active service he could count on leaving Leptines behind as the guardian of his interests at home.”

And if that is correct then she is likely the mother of Hiero’s daughters, Damarata and Heraclia, known for Livy 24.26. We don’t think Neireis is her daughter as Justin 28.3 would suggest, but I’ve not investigated enough to be 100% confident.

Her coinage is extensive and beautiful and yet there is so little trace of her in the written records…

Bibliography to learn more down the road…

Storaci, Ermelinda and Manenti, Angela Maria. “Un nuovo ripostiglio di Filistide a Siracusa.” Annali dell’Istituto Italiano di Numismatica 59 (2013): 217-223.

Dimartino, Alessia. “Ierone II, Filistide e il teatro greco di Taormina: note in margine a IG XIV, 437.” In Immagine e immagini della Sicilia e di altre isole del Mediterraneo antico, Edited by Ampolo, Carmine. Seminari e Convegni / Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa; 22, 721-726. Pisa: Ed. della Normale, 2009.

Caccamo Caltabiano, Maria, Carroccio, Benedetto and Oteri, Emilia. “Il sistema monetale ieroniano: cronologia e problemi.” Atti della Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti, Classe di Lettere, Filosofia e Belle Arti 69 Suppl. 1 (1993): 195-280.

Caccamo Caltabiano, Maria and Oteri, Emilia. “Cronologia e sistemi di produzione e di controlla delle monete dei «Siracusani di Gelone».” Numismatica e Antichità Classiche 22 (1993): 91-110.

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