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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ SatyrsView Options:  |  |  | 

Satyrs on Ancient Coins

Thasos, Thrace, c. 480 - 463 B.C.

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Nymphs are nature spirits who appear as beautiful, young nubile maidens. They dwell in mountains, valleys and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and cool grottoes. Nymphs love to dance and sing and are the frequent target of satyrs. Satyrs are male companions of Pan and Dionysus with goat-like features, including a goat-tail, goat-like ears, and sometimes a goat-like phallus. As Dionysiac creatures, Satyrs are lovers of wine and women and ready for every physical pleasure. They are obsessed with nymphs.
GA87298. Silver stater, SNG Cop 1013; Svoronos HPM p. 97, 12, pl. X, 21; McClean 4198; Franke-Hirmer 436; BMC Thasos p. 218, 28; HGC 6 331, gVF, well centered and struck, die wear, light tone, weight 8.833 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, Thasos mint, c. 480 - 463 B.C.; obverse nude ithyphallic satyr kneeling-running right, carrying in his arms a struggling nymph, raising her right hand in protest, both with long strait hair indicated with lines, she wears a long chiton, her palm is facing, Θ (Thasos) below; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ex Steven Battelle, ex Harlan J. Berk, buy or bid sale 198 (7 Jul 2016), lot 74; rare with Θ; $1200.00 (1020.00)


Thasos, Thrace, c. 412 - 404 B.C.

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During the period when this coin was minted there was much chaos on the island. Thasos had revolted against their Athenian aggressors and was subsequently occupied by the Spartans (Lacedaemonians). In the following years Thasos was occupied by one or the other of the two opposing powers and did not regain freedom until the Battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 B.C. Only drachms were struck in this late and final issue of the satyr and nymph type. Despite the chaos of the time and the archaized punch reverse, the obverse dies were engraved in elegant fine classical style.
SH87191. Silver drachm, Le Rider Thasiennes 8; HGC 6 336 (R1); Svoronos HPM -; SNG Cop -, aEF, superb classical style, dark old cabinet toning, some die wear/rust, scattered porosity, light bumps and marks, weight 3.438 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, Thasos mint, 5th type, c. 412 - 404 B.C.; obverse nude ithyphallic satyr kneeling-running right, carrying in his arms a struggling nymph, he is balding and is crowned with an ivy wreath, her hair is rolled and she wears a long chiton, her right arm is behind his back; reverse pebbled quadripartite square punch; ex Shanna Schmidt Numismatics; ex Nomos AG, obolos 8 (2 Dec 2017), lot 157; ex W. F. Stoecklin Collection, Amriswil, Switzerland; ex Bank Leu, Zurich (prior to 1975); rare, last satyr and nymph type, final issue struck only as a drachm!; $1180.00 (1003.00)


Tutere (Tudor), Umbria, Italy, 280 - 240 B.C.

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Todi was founded by the ancient Italic people of the Umbri, in the 8th - 7th century BC, with the name of Tutere. The name means "border," it being the city located on the frontier with the Etruscan dominions. It was conquered by the Romans in 217 BC. According to Silius Italicus, it had a double line of walls that stopped Hannibal himself after his victory at the Trasimeno. Christianity spread to Todi very early, through the efforts of St. Terentianus. Bishop St. Fortunatus became the patron saint of the city for his heroic defense of it during the Gothic siege. In Lombard times, Todi was part of the Duchy of Spoleto.
SH73969. Bronze hemiobol, HN Italy 37, Campania CNAI 2, SNG Cop 75, SNG ANS 105; BMC Italy p. 39, 1, F, well centered, pitted, flan crack, weight 3.364 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tuder (Todi, Italy) mint, 280 - 240 B.C.; obverse bearded head of the satyr Silenus (Seilenos) right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse Umbrian: TVTEDE (downward on left, TVT top outward, EDE top inward), eagle standing left, wings spread; rare; $360.00 (306.00)


Thasos, Islands off Thrace, c. 411 - 404 B.C.

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In 411 B.C., Thasos revolted from Athens and received a Lacedaemonian governor. In 407 B.C. Spartans were expelled and the Athenians readmitted. After the Battle of Aegospotami in 405 B.C., Thasos again fell under the Lacedaemonians led by Lysander who formed a decarchy there. Athens must have recovered it, for later it was a subject of dispute with Philip II of Macedonia.
GA84665. Silver tritartemorion, Le Rider Thasiennes 12; SNG Cop 1033, BMC Thrace 60, SNG Fitzwilliam 3665, McClean 4218, SGCV I 1756, VF, well centered, surfaces lightly etched, weight 0.393 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 180o, Thasos mint, c. 411 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of satyr right; reverse two dolphins swimming in opposite directions, Θ/A between them; $90.00 (76.50)


Thasos, Thrace, c. 411 - 355 B.C.

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In 411 B.C., Thasos revolted from Athens and received a Lacedaemonian governor. In 407 B.C. Spartans were expelled and the Athenians readmitted. After the Battle of Aegospotami in 405 B.C., Thasos again fell under the Lacedaemonians led by Lysander who formed a decarchy there. Athens must have recovered it, for later it was one of the subjects of dispute with Philip II of Macedonia.
GS85506. Silver trihemiobol, Le Rider Thasiennes 27; BMC Thrace p. 221, 53 ff.; SNG Cop 1029 ff., Dewing 1331; HGC 6 351 (S); SGCV I 1755, F, toned, bumps and marks, porous, small edge chips, weight 0.781 g, maximum diameter 12.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thasos mint, c. 411 - 355 B.C.; obverse satyr kneeling left, on left knee, nude but for cloak tied at waist and flying behind, kantharos in right hand; reverse ΘAΣ−IΩN, volute krater; $50.00 (42.50)


Heliopolis, Coele-Syria, c. 198 A.D.

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Septimius Severus conferred the Jus Italicum upon Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) in 193, for supporting him against Pescennius Niger. Prior to that Heliopolis had been part of the territory of Berytus (Beirut) on the Phoenician coast since 15 B.C. This obverse of this coin is copied from a coin of Berytus.

Marsyas found Athena's flute. Inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully. Foolishly he challenged Apollo to a musical contest. Apollo won by singing to the music of his lyre. As a just punishment for his presumption, Apollo flayed Marsyas alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and his skin was hung like a wine bag in the cave out of which that river flows.
RP73451. Bronze AE 13, Sawaya 261 (D48/R100), Lindgren-Kovacs 2156, SNG Cop -, SNG Mnchen -, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 1.988 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 90o, Heliopolis mint, c. 198 A.D.; obverse Marsyas right, wineskin over shoulder, C - HE (Colonia Heliopolis), border of dots; reverse COL / HEL in two lines at center within wreath, border of dots; scarce; $45.00 (38.25)


Berytus, Phoenicia, 114 - 117 A.D.

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While playing the flute Athena saw her reflection in the water and disturbed by how her cheeks looked, puffed up while playing, threw away the instrument in disgust. The satyr Marsyas picked up the flute and since it had once been inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully on its own accord. Elated by his success, Marsyas challenged Apollo to a musical contest. For the prize, the victor could do what he pleased with the vanquished. The Muses were the umpires. Apollo played the cithara and Marsyas the flute. Only after Apollo added his voice to the music of his lyre was the contest decided in his favor. As a just punishment for the presumption of Marsyas, Apollo bound him to a tree and flayed him alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and Apollo hung up his skin, like a wine bag, in the cave out of which that river flows.
GB73439. Bronze AE 11, Sawaya 786 ff.; SNG Cop 89; BMC Phoenicia p. 56, 1 ff.; RPC I -, VF, weight 0.830 g, maximum diameter 11.3 mm, Berytus (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, 114 - 117 A.D.; obverse Marsyas advancing left, carrying wine skin over shoulder, CO-L divided across field; reverse forepart of galley right, BER above; $36.00 (30.60)







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Catalog current as of Thursday, October 18, 2018.
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Satyrs