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Katane, Sicily, c. 405 - 402 B.C.
The oldest, wisest and most drunken of the followers of Dionysus, Silenos was also one of the young god's tutors. He was usually so drunk that he had to be supported by satyrs or carried by a donkey. When intoxicated, Silenus was said to possess special knowledge and the power of prophecy. The Phrygian King Midas was eager to learn from Silenus and caught the old man by lacing a fountain from which Silenus often drank. Silenus shared with the king a pessimistic philosophy: That the best thing for a man is not to be born, and if already born, to die as soon as possible. An alternative story was that when lost and wandering in Phrygia, Silenus was rescued by peasants and taken to King Midas, who treated him kindly. In return for Midas' hospitality, Silenus told him some tales and Midas, enchanted by Silenus’ fictions, entertained him for five days and nights. Dionysus offered Midas a reward for his kindness towards Silenus, and Midas chose the power of turning everything he touched into gold.
GI84579. Silver drachm, Jameson 554 (dies); SNG ANS III 1262; Mirone 103; BMC Sicily p. 49, 43; HGC 2 579 (R2); SNG Cop -, VF, extraordinary style from the period of finest art, high relief obverse, die wear, flan flaw (some restoration?) on the reverse, Katane mint, weight 3.753g, maximum diameter 16.0mm, die axis 0o
, c. 405 - 402 B.C.; obverse facing head of Silenos, bald, bearded, donkey ears; reverse KATANAIΩN, head of Apollo left wearing taenia, olive leaf and berry behind, all within a shallow circular incuse; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 224 (13 Oct 2014), lot 54; rare
Catalog current as of Saturday, August 24, 2019.
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