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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Olympians ▸ Dionysus or BacchusView Options:  |  |  |   

Dionysos or Bacchus

Dionysos (Bacchus to the Romans) was the god of wine, festivities, and ecstasy. He was the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele. Wandering the world in a panther-drawn chariot, Dionysos rode ahead of the maenads and satyrs, who sang loudly and danced, flushed with wine. They were profusely garlanded with ivy and held the thyrsus, a staff topped with a pinecone, a symbol of the immortality of his believers. Everywhere he went he taught men how to cultivate vines and the mysteries of his cult. Whoever stood in his way and refused to revere him was punished with madness.


Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $3000.00 (2550.00)


Greek, Bronze Krater(?) Handle, Ornamented With Head of Dionysos, c. 400 - 200 B.C.

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This handle was probably once attached to a krater, a punch-bowl type vessel used for diluting and serving wine. The earliest kraters were bronze and almost exclusively the volute-type. Very few bronze kraters have survived. Most often only the handles remain.
AG40492. Greek bronze krater(?) handle, height 12.7 cm (4 5/8"), ornamented with facing head of Dionysos, $800.00 (680.00)


Phokaia, Ionia, c. 372 - 327 B.C.

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According to Herodotus the Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, having discovered the coasts of the Adriatic, Tyrrhenia and Spain. Herodotus relates that they so impressed Arganthonios, king of Tartessus in Spain, that he invited them to settle there, and, when they declined, gave them a great sum of money to build a wall around their city.
SH86298. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 97 (b/-); SNGvA 2123; BMC Ionia p. 208, 36; Boston MFA 1924 (identified as Pan); SNG Kayhan -, Rosen -, VF, attractive style, well centered and struck, mild die wear, bumps and scratches, weight 2.521 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, Phokaia (Foca, Turkey) mint, c. 364 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos left, wreathed in ivy with berries, hair rolled, small seal (symbol of Phokaia) left below; reverse quadripartite incuse square; scarce; $600.00 (510.00)


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 454 - 427 B.C.

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Mytilene revolted against Athens in 428 B.C. but was overcome by an Athenian expeditionary force. The Athenian public assembly voted to massacre all the men of the city and to sell the women and children into slavery but changed its mind the next day. A fast trireme sailed the 186 nautical miles (344 km) in less than a day and brought the decision to cancel the massacre.
SH85699. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 52 (c/η); Boston MFA 1700; SNG Cop 325; SNGvA 7731; SNG Fitzwilliam 4344; BMC Troas p. 121, 56 & pl. 32, 25; HGC 6 978 (R1), aVF, weight 2.573 g, maximum diameter 11.3 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 454 - 427 B.C.; obverse young male head (river god?) right, short hair, wearing taenia; reverse archaizing bearded male head (Dionysos?) right, long pointed beard, within incuse square; $580.00 (493.00)


Gaius Asinius Gallus, Roman Proconsul of Asia, 6 - 5 B.C., Temnos, Aeolis

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The larger denomination of the same series honored Augustus. On this coin Gallus gives himself the epithet Aγνος, meaning pure or holy! Later he was an ambitious and powerful senator. A foe of Tiberius, in 11 B.C. he married Tiberius' ex-wife, Vipsania. He was suspected of and never denied fathering Tiberius' son, Drusus the Younger. After Vipsania died, he courted the widow of Germanicus, Agrippina. In 30 A.D., Tiberius had him imprisoned and for three years kept him in solitary confinement and on the very edge of starvation until he died. To add further insult he was discredited by damnatio memoriae.
RP85941. Bronze AE 16, RPC I 2447 (23 spec.); SNG Cop 276; SNG Mnchen 627; BMC Troas p. 146, 24; CRE Ashmolean 1261; Waddington 1350; SNGvA -, VF, dark green patina, centered on a tight flan cutting off much of legends, bumps and marks, earthen encrustations, weight 4.284 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 0o, Temnos (Menemen?, Izmir, Turkey) mint, 5 B.C.; obverse ACINIOC ΓAΛΛOC AΓNOC, bare head of Asinius Gallus right; reverse APOΛΛAC ΦAINIOY TAMNITAN, head of Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; scarce; $270.00 (229.50)


Rhodos, Caria, c. 1 - 25 A.D.

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Although the radiate heads on coins of Rhodes are usually Helios, the wreath of ivy indicates this is Dionysos. Teimostratos was the first official named on the bronze coinage struck at Rhodes after Actium. His title, Treasurer (TAMIA), is unusual. The officials that followed at Rhodes were identified as Legate (EPI) in the inscriptions.
GB86523. Bronze drachm, RPC I 2748; SNG Keckman 759; SNG Cop 888; Ashton Early 107; Lindgren 700; BMC Caria p. 264, 377, F, broad flan, near black patina, earthen deposits, reverse double struck, porous, weight 25.209 g, maximum diameter 35.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rhodes mint, c. 1 - 25 A.D.; obverse radiate head of young Dionysos right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse Rose seen in profile, small bud on tendril on each side of stem, poppy to left of stem, stalk of grain to right of stem, PO∆IΩN (Rhodos) above, TA-MIA / TEI-MO/CTP-ATOY (treasurer Teimostratos) in three lines divided across field; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $250.00 (212.50)


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

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This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS79630. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XII, monogram 6, 743 (O AC8 / R 592); SNG Cop 1040 ff., VF, toned, bumps and marks, die wear, weight 16.745 g, maximum diameter 32.8 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, MH monogram inner left; $240.00 (204.00)


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

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This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS79632. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XIV, monogram 24, cf. 1100 - 1104 (V CD3 / -); SNG Cop 1046, VF, centered, toned, struck with a worn obverse die, scrape on chin, scratches and marks, weight 16.690 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, monogram inner left; $240.00 (204.00)


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS79635. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XVI, 1226 (O DD4 / R 989); SNG Cop 1040 ff., VF, nice style, light toning, bumps and scratches, die wear, weight 16.787 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, MH monogram inner left; $240.00 (204.00)


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS79634. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XII, monogram 6, 806 - 808 var. (O AE8 / R -); SNG Cop 1040 ff., F, centered on a tight flan, uneven toning, die wear, weight 16.664 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, MH monogram inner left; $215.00 (182.75)




  



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REFERENCES

Bernhart, M. "Dionysos und seine Familie auf griechischen Mnzen" in JNG I (1949).


Catalog current as of Monday, April 23, 2018.
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Dionysos or Bacchus