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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.


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 Tübingen 2649 (triobol); Traité 2295; BMC Troas p. 72, 12 (hemidrachm); SNG München –; 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bull, ΛAM around clockwise from lower left, all within a shallow incuse square; ex Beast Coins, this type is apparently unpublished in references as a hemidrachm, but larger denominations with the same types are published, and five hemiobol specimens are known from auctions over the last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; $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.
GS82792. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, monogram 28/1, group XVI, 1525 (O DE1/ R 1207); SNG Cop 1044 ff., VF, attractive style, light toning, , tight flan, obverse slightly off center, light bumps and marks, die wear, reverse slight double strike, weight 16.358 g, maximum diameter 31.9 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; $215.00 SALE |PRICE| $194.00
 


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.
GS82782. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XII, monogram 7, 689 (V AC3 / R 536); Lukanc 771 (same dies); SNG Cop 1042, VF, porosity on obverse, bumps and scratches, edge crack, weight 16.65 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; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00
 


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
 


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; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


Sardes, Lydia, c 98 - 117 A.D.

|Sardes|, |Sardes,| |Lydia,| |c| || |98| |-| |117| |A.D.|, |AE| |16|
CTP in the reverse legend identifies the magistrate, Lo. Io. Libonianos, as a strategos. Strategos, plural strategoi, is Greek meaning "general." In the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor. In the modern Greek army, it is the highest officer rank.
RP82728. Bronze AE 16, RPC Online III 2393 (18 spec.); SNG Cop 508; SNG Leypold 1201; SNG Tatis 757; Imhoof-Blumer LS p. 139, 13; BMC Lydia p. 246, 75; Winterthur 3917, VF, attractive dark green patina, bumps and marks, earthen deposits, weight 2.366 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, time of Trajan, c. 98 - 117 A.D; obverse CAP∆IA-NΩN, draped youthful bust of Dionysus right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse CTP ΛO IO ΛI-BΩNIANOY, filleted thyrsus, bee to right; ex Numismatic Naumann GmbH auction 60, lot 326; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00
 


Eumeneia, Phrygia, 133 - 30 B.C.

|Eumeneia|, |Eumeneia,| |Phrygia,| |133| |-| |30| |B.C.|, |AE| |21|
"Philokhoros [Greek historian, c. 3rd century B.C.] says that drinkers not only reveal what they are, but also disclose the secrets of everybody else in their outspokenness. Hence the saying, ‘wine is truth also,’ and ‘wine revealeth the heart of man.’ Hence also the tripod as prize of victory in the Dionysia (Festival of Dionysos). For of those who speak the truth we say that they ‘speak from the tripod,’ and it must be understood that the mixing-bowl is Dionysos' tripod...In these they used to mix their wine, and this is ‘the veritable tripod truth.’ Wherefore the tripod is proper to Apollon because of its prophetic truth, while to Dionysos it is proper because of the truth of wine." -- Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 2. 37f -38a
GB92007. Bronze AE 21, BMC Phrygia p. 212, 13; cf. SNG Cop 382 (magistrate); SNG München 203 (same); SNGvA 3583 (same); SNG Tübingen -, gF, centered on a tight flan, dark patina with highlighting buff earthen deposits, bumps and scratches, weight 7.485 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, Eumeneia (near Civril, Turkey) mint, magistrate Dionysios Philonidos, 133 - 30 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse tripod lebes with three handles, star above center, star above snake-entwined labrys left, star above filleted laurel-branch right, EYMENEΩN downward on right, ∆IONYΣIOY / ΦIΛΩNI∆ (magistrate's name) downward in two lines on left; very rare magistrate; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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


Catalog current as of Friday, February 28, 2020.
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Dionysos or Bacchus