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Panther, an animal scared to Bacchus (LIBER PATER as in Gallienus) ; and its image forms on coins and other monuments at once the attribute of, and the attendant upon, that deity. Bacchus and his followers, indeed, appear on ancient monuments covered with the skin of this animal, which is also symbolical of Pan. This ferocious beast, which is still very common in Asia, was in the time of the Romans to be found in considerable numbers in Caria, Pamphylia, and Syria. It was often brought from the East, and also from Africa, to figure at Rome in sports of circus, where sometimes it was harnessed to chariots; at others made to fight.
~ Scaurus, during his edileship, was the first to furnish a public show of panthers to the number of one hundred and fifty. Pompey produced five hundred and ten; and Augustus four hundred and twenty, according to Pliny.
Panthers appear on coins as the companions of Bacchus, because the natural history of ancients ascribe to these animals a peculiar fondness for wine; and this liqueur was one of the means said to have been employed to take them; the hunters using it to make the panthers intoxicated. The round spots on the hide forbid our confounding either the panther or the pard with the tiger, and the distinction is observable on coins.
A panther, on which Cybele or Isis is seated, occurs on a coin of Hadrian. It appears at the feet of Bacchus on colonial coins of Antoninus Pius, M. Aurelius, Spet. Severus, Caracalla, and Geta.
~ On a medallion of Hadrian a panther and goat draw a chariot, in which are seated Bacchus and Apollo.
~ And on a coin of Antoninus a panther is similarly employed, with a satyr for his yoke-fellow, in a car where the God of Wine is recognized by his thyrsus, and the fair Ariadne sits besides him.
~Vailiant, in his Latin Colonies, gives us a coin of Corinth, struck under M. Aurelius, on the reverse of which is C. L. I. COR. Colonia Laus Julia Corinthus; and Liber Pater standing with the cup or flagon in his right hand and thyrsus in his left. A panther sits at his feet looking up as if at the goblet which contains "the liqueur he loves"
~ A panther appears on a brass coin of Gallienus, with legend of LIBERO Patri CONservatori AVGusti.