These nearly pure silver coins were recently unearthed after being buried for nearly 2,500 years! They were struck to finance the military payroll of the massive Persian army some 1,700,000 strong - popularly depicted in the movie 300.
Each of these Siglos averages about 5.5 grams and depicts King Xerxes as an archer in an action pose.
Two major obverse variations are found, one with a spear and bow, the other with a dagger and bow. These were struck with a heavy sledge hammer on thick oblong planchets. The reverse die was basically a rectangular lump and the incused impression left has been found in many different variations. These coins are frequently countermarked with tiny punches by merchants or bankers, probably to attest to the quality of the silver.
Xerxes army attempted an invasion of Greece in 479 BC and although they were able to capture Athens, they ultimately failed, being defeated at Plataea.