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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Olympians| ▸ |Dionysus or Bacchus||View 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.

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.|, |as|
The title of Dii Auspices (the gods-protectors) was given to the deities in general, and to each of them in particular, acknowledging their special protection, and sacrifices were offered to them accordingly. This legend and type help confirm what Dion states, that Severus built a grand temple to honor Hercules and Bacchus. When Septimius Severus advanced into the East against Pescennius Niger, he chose Hercules and Bacchus as his patrons, probably because ancient traditions designated the two as the first conquerors of that region.
RB95802. Copper as, RIC IV 666, BMCRE V 501, Cohen IV 117, Hunter III -, VF, nice coin, attractive brown-green patina, excellent portrait and reverse style, tight flan, areas of porosity, weight 11.884 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 194 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP II, laureate head right; reverse DIS AVSPICIB TR P II COS II P P, Hercules and Bacchus (Liber) standing slightly left, side by side, nude, heads left, Hercules with the Nemean Lion's skin on his left arm and resting his right hand on his grounded club, Bacchus holds a cantharus in his right hand and rests his left on a thyrsus, a panther sits left at his feet, S C in exergue; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 8 (29-30 Jun 2019), lot 1180; ex Kress sale 116 (28 Oct 1960), lot 959; rare; $700.00 SALE |PRICE| $630.00


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 88 - 85 B.C.

|Pergamon|, |Pergamon,| |Mysia,| |c.| |88| |-| |85| |B.C.|, |cistophoric| |tetradrachm|
The cista mystica was a basket used for housing sacred snakes in connection with the initiation ceremony into the cult of Bacchus (Dionysus). In the Dionysian mysteries a snake, representing the god and possibly symbolic of his phallus, was carried in a cista mystica on a bed of vine leaves. The cista in the mysteries of Isis may also have held a serpent, perhaps associated with the missing phallus of Osiris.

The thyrsus is the staff carried by Bacchus and his associates; topped by a pine cone or a bunch of ivy leaves and wreathed with tendrils of vine or ivy.
GS94496. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Kleiner Pergamum pl. 13, 25; SNG BnF 1726; SNGvA 1369; SNG Cop 425; BMC Mysia p. 124, 97; Pinder 122, VF, light toning, weight 12.255 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 45o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, c. 88 - 85 B.C.; obverse Cista mystica with half-open lid, from which a snake emerges, all within wreath of ivy with berries; reverse bow-case ornamented with apluster, strung bow emerging upper left, snake with head erect one each side, AΠ (control) over Prytaneis monogram and star above between snakes, case straps draped over snakes below, (Pergamon monogram) to left, snake entwined thyrsus right; from an Israeli collection; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00


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

|Roman| |Macedonia|, |Roman| |Macedonia,| |"Thasian"| |Type,| |c.| |148| |-| |80| |B.C.|, |tetradrachm|
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.
GS91475. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XII, monogram 6, 786 (O AE5 / R 624); SNG Cop 1040 ff. (Thasos), aVF, old cabinet toning, well centered, bumps and scratches, die wear, weight 16.517 g, maximum diameter 33.6 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; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $240.00 SALE |PRICE| $216.00


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

|Roman| |Military| |Mint|, |Roman| |Macedonia,| |"Thasian"| |Type,| |c.| |148| |-| |80| |B.C.|, |tetradrachm|
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.
GS82789. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XII, monogram 18, 639 (V AC1 / R 524); SNG Cop 1042 (Thasos); Lukanc 770, VF, toned, tight flan, bumps and marks, wavy flan, die break on cheek and hair, weight 16.838 g, maximum diameter 31.1 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, (MH monogram) inner left; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00 ON RESERVE


Lamponeia, Troas, c. 5th - Early 4th Century B.C.

|Troas|, |Lamponeia,| |Troas,| |c.| |5th| |-| |Early| |4th| |Century| |B.C.|, |hemiobol|
Lamponeia was on the southern coast of Troas, on the long crest of a mountain, above the modern village of Kozlu in Canakkale Province, Turkey. From this site, the city could monitor sea traffic on the coast and control a narrow valley which connected Assos to the cities of the middle Skamander valley. The settlement was 800 m long and protected by a 7 m thick circuit wall of rough masonry and boulders, dated to the 6th century B.C. In the 5th century B.C. the city was a member of the Delian League and paid Athens a modest tribute of 1,000 drachms (on one occasion in 430/429 1,400 drachms). In the late 5th and early 4th century B.C. the city minted bronze coinage, but thereafter disappears from the historical record. It is possible that soon after the site was abandoned and its citizens moved to Assos. Late Roman and Byzantine period finds suggest that the site was reoccupied in this period, perhaps as a defensive measure against piracy and brigandage.
GS89698. Silver hemiobol, cf. SNG Cop 444 (obol); SNG Tbingen 2649 (triobol); Trait 2295; BMC Troas p. 72, 12 (hemidrachm); SNG Munchen -; SNG Kayhan -; Klein -, VF, well centered, toned, porous, oval flan, weight 0.270 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 0o, Lamponeia (near Kozlu, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 5th - early 4th century B.C.; obverse bearded head of Dionysos right, hair bound in taenia; reverse facing head of bull, ΛAM around clockwise from lower left, all within a shallow incuse square; ex Beast Coins, this type is apparently unpublished in references as a hemidrachm, but larger denominations with the same types are published, and five hemiobol specimens are known from auctions over the last two decades; extremely rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Pellene, Peloponnesos, Greece

|Peloponnesos|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Pellene,| |Peloponnesos,| |Greece|, |diassarion|
Pellene sided with Sparta in the Peloponnesian War, then joined the Achaean League until that League was dissolved by Alexander the Great. In the fourth century it was ruled for some time by a tyrant. In the third century, Pellene was garrisoned by the Aetolian League until the garrison was expelled by Aratus of Sicyon and the Achaeans in the 240s B.C. Pellene then joined the revived Achaean League until the League was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 146 B.C.
SH95334. Bronze diassarion, BCD Peloponnesos 607; BMC Peloponnesus p. 32, 15; Imhoof-Blumer NCP p. 92 (pl. S, XI); SNG Cop -, Dura -, aF, brown patina, legends obscure, weight 3.930 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 180o, Pellene mint, c. 198 - 205 A.D.; obverse L CEΠ CEV EPROC ΠE, laureate head right; reverse ΠEΛΛHNEΩN, Dionysus Lampter standing left, nude, pouring from kantharos in right hand, filleted thyrsus in left hand; ex J. S. Wagner Collection; very rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00


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

|Rhodos|, |Rhodos,| |Caria,| |c.| |1| |-| |25| |A.D.|, |drachm|
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, Rhodos (Rhodes, Greece) 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, huge 35mm coin; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00


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

|Roman| |Military| |Mint|, |Roman| |Macedonia,| |"Thasian"| |Type,| |c.| |148| |-| |80| |B.C.|, |tetradrachm|
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; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 123 - 104 B.C.

|Pergamon|, |Pergamon,| |Mysia,| |c.| |123| |-| |104| |B.C.|, |cistophoric| |tetradrachm|
The cista mystica was a basket used for housing sacred snakes in connection with the initiation ceremony into the cult of Bacchus (Dionysus). In the Dionysian mysteries a snake, representing the god and possibly symbolic of his phallus, was carried in a cista mystica on a bed of vine leaves. The cista in the mysteries of Isis may also have held a serpent, perhaps associated with the missing phallus of Osiris.

The thyrsus is the staff carried by Bacchus and his associates; topped by a pine cone or a bunch of ivy leaves and wreathed with tendrils of vine or ivy.
GS91522. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Kleiner Pergamum p. 80, 8; Pinder -; SNG BnF -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; BMC Mysia -, VF, well centered, old collection toning, bumps and marks, die wear, weight 12.250 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 45o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, c. 123 - 104 B.C.; obverse cista mystica with half open lid, from which a snake emerges left, all within wreath of ivy leaves and berries; reverse bow-case ornamented with an apluster, strung bow emerging upper left, flanked on each side by a snake with head erect, WPA monogram (control) between heads of snakes, straps from case draped over snakes below, (Pergamon monogram) to left, snake entwined thyrsos to right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00


Apameia, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 10 - 9 B.C.

|Decapolis,| |Arabia| |&| |Syria|, |Apameia,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria,| |10| |-| |9| |B.C.|, |AE| |21|
Apamea is believed to be the Biblical city Shepham (Num. xxxiv. 11). Rome received Apamea with the Pergamene Kingdom in 133 B.C., but sold it to Mithridates V of Pontus, who held it till 120 BC. After the Mithridatic Wars it became a great center for trade, largely carried on by resident Italians and Jews. Pompey razed the fortress and annexed the city to Rome in 64 B.C. Apamea is mentioned in the Talmud (Ber. 62a, Niddah, 30b and Yeb. 115b). By order of Flaccus, nearly 45 kilograms of gold, intended by Jews for the Temple in Jerusalem was confiscated in Apamea in 62 B.C. In the revolt of Syria under Q. Caecilius Bassus, it held out against Julius Caesar for three years until the arrival of Cassius in 46 B.C.Great Colonnade at Apamea
RY88994. Bronze AE 21, BMC Galatia p. 234, 11; SNG Cop 300; AMC I 1470; RPC I 4354 (4 spec.); HGC 9 -; SNG Mn -; Lindgren -; Hunter -, F, dark green patina, light porosity, light earthen deposits, light scratches, edge split, weight 6.362 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Syria, Apameia (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 10 - 9 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wreathed in ivy; reverse cornucopia overflowing with fruits and grains, ΓT (year 303) inner left, AΠAMEΩN / THΣ IEPAΣ − KAI AΣYΛOY in three downward lines (first two on left, last on right), M-A flanking tip of cornucopia; ex Guy Clark's Ancient Coins And Antiquities; rare; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00




  



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REFERENCES|

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


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