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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.

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia

|Bithynia|, |Antoninus| |Pius,| |August| |138| |-| |7| |March| |161| |A.D.,| |Nicaea,| |Bithynia||hemiassarion|
According to myth, Hermes and Dionysos were sons of Zeus, but Hermes' mother was the princess Semele and Dionysos' mother was the minor goddess Maia. To protect the infant Dionysos from his wife Hera, Zeus entrusted him to Hermes, who together with a band of nymphs, hid the child near Mt. Nysa in Anatolia.
RP111796. Bronze hemiassarion, RPC Online IV 5875 (3 spec.); Rec Gen 79; SNG Cop 480 corr. (obv. leg., M. Aurelius), aVF, dark and earthen patina, weight 4.044 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, obverse AVT KAICAP ANTΩNINOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKAIEΩN, Infant Dionysos seated right in cradle, extending both arms, thyrsus in cradle behind (not visible); Coin Archives records only one specimen of the type at auction in the last two decades; very rare; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Silandus, Lydia

|Other| |Lydia|, |Geta,| |209| |-| |c.| |26| |December| |211| |A.D.,| |Silandus,| |Lydia||AE| |23|
Silandus is not mentioned by any ancient geographer or historian. Some inscriptions and coins but no ruins have been found at a site near Selendi, Turkey.
RP112010. Bronze AE 23, apparently unpublished, GRPC Lydia -, BMC Lydia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, aF, tight flan, porous/rough, weight 13.235 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Silandus (near Selendi, Turkey) mint, as Augustus, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D.; obverse AVK ΠO - CE ΓETAC, laureate head right; reverse CIΛANΔ-EΩN, Dionysus standing facing, head left, cantharus in right hand, filleted thyrsus in left hand, panther at feet left; legends on our specimen confirmed by a die match to the only other specimen (sold at auction) known to FORVM; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


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

|Sardes|, |Sardes,| |Lydia,| |c| || |98| |-| |117| |A.D.||AE| |17|
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.
RP99970. Bronze AE 17, 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, near centered, dark green patina, light scratches, light earthen deposits, weight 2.786 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, time of Trajan, c. 98 - 117 A.D; obverse CAPΔIA-NΩN, draped youthful bust of Dionysus right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse CTP ΛO IO ΛI-BΩNIANOY, filleted thyrsus, bee to right; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Flaviopolis, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Flaviopolis,| |Cilicia||AE| |16|
Vespasian founded both the province of Cilicia and the city of Flaviopolis in 74 A.D. as part of an imperial program for urbanization of the Cilician Plain. Prior to establishing the province, the rural hinterland and the city of Anazarbos were probably administered by the Tracondimotid dynasty from Hieropolis Castabala. The location of Flaviopolis is believed to be Kadirli, Turkey were some mosaic floors, inscriptions, and building blocks have been found. This coin was struck in year 17 of the local era, the first year that Flaviopolis issued coins.
RP99177. Bronze AE 16, RPC II 1761; SNG Levante 1533; Lindgren 1495; Imhoof-Blumer MG p. 352, 21, aVF, weight 1.689 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Flaviopolis mint, 89 - 90 A.D.; obverse ΔOMETIANOC KAICAP, laureate head of Domitian to right; reverse ETOYC ZI ΦΛAVIOΠOΛEITΩN (year 17, Flaviopolis), draped bust of Dionysos right, thyrsos over left shoulder; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 377 - 326 B.C.

|Lesbos|, |Mytilene,| |Lesbos,| |c.| |377| |-| |326| |B.C.||hekte|
Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance."
SH21934. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 90 (unlisted dies), gVF, weight 2.569 g, maximum diameter 9.9 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 356 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse head of Satyr facing within linear square; ex Freeman and Sear; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

|Hadrian|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.||cistophoric| |tetradrachm|
Bacchus was the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility, equivalent to the Greek god Dionysus. He carried a pinecone-topped staff, and his followers were goat-footed Satyrs and Maenads, wild women who danced energetically during his festivals. Bacchus was the child of Jupiter and Seml, a human. Juno tricked her into asking to see Jupiter as he really was. Since she was a mortal, she was burned up by the sight of his divine form. So Jupiter sewed the infant Bacchus into his thigh, and gave birth to him nine months later. Before he took his place at Olympus, Bacchus wandered the world for many years, going as far as India to teach people how to grow vines. In myth, Dionysius was the last god to join the twelve Olympians. Hestia gave up her seat for him.
SH32539. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RIC II 485; Metcalf Type 101/Type 98 (unidentified mint D), Choice gVF, weight 10.161 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Asia Minor mint, obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS P P, bare-headed bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, Bacchus standing facing, nude, head left, thyrsus in left hand, oenochoe in right hand over panther left at feet; SOLD


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 377 - 326 B.C.

|Lesbos|, |Mytilene,| |Lesbos,| |c.| |377| |-| |326| |B.C.||hekte|
 
SH85689. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 81; SNG Cop 322; Boston MFA 1717; BMC Troas p. 165, 82 & pl. 33, 25; HGC 6 1007; SNGvA -, EF, superb style, excellent strike, some die wear, weight 2.565 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 377 - 326 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right wearing ivy wreath; reverse head of youthful male (Pan?) right, wearing tainia, within linear square in incuse square; ex London Coin Galleries; SOLD


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Alexandreia Troas, Troas

|Troas|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Alexandreia| |Troas,| |Troas||AE| |24|
Silenus, the old man of the forest with horse ears (sometimes also a horse tail and legs), was the oldest, wisest and most drunken of the followers of Dionysus, and was said in Orphic hymns to be the young god's tutor. He was usually drunk and had to be supported by satyrs or carried by a donkey. When intoxicated, he possessed special knowledge and the power of prophecy. Eager to learn from Silenus, King Midas 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. In another myth, when lost and wandering in Phrygia, Silenus was rescued by peasants and taken to King Midas, who treated him kindly and 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.
RP71870. Bronze AE 24, Bellinger Troy A435; SNG Cop 194; SNG Munchen 125; BMC Troas p. 30, 165; SNGvA - (refs ID the central figure as drunken Hercules), gVF, grainy surfaces, weight 6.082 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP LIC VALERIANVS AVG (N retrograde), Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse COL A-VG, TROAC (ending in exergue, AC ligate), Silenus standing half right, supported by three satyrs, one standing behind with arms around his waist, and two more at sides; very rare; SOLD


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

|Cistophori|, |Mark| |Antony| |and| |Octavia,| |39| |B.C.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||cistophoric| |tetradrachm|
Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, abbreviated on this coin with III VIR R P C, was 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.
SH85436. 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, VF, well centered, toned, weight 12.035 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos (near Selçuk, Turkey) mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT, 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; SOLD


Heraklia, Bithynia, 345 - 337 B.C.

|Bithynia|, |Heraklia,| |Bithynia,| |345| |-| |337| |B.C.||stater|
Heraclea Pontica (today Karadeniz Eregli, on the Black Sea in Turkey) was founded at the mouth of the river Lycus by the Greek city-state of Megara. It was named after Herakles whom the Greeks believed entered the underworld at a cave nearby. From the middle of the 5th Century B.C., the city became important in the Black Sea trade, and its economic heyday was the 4th Century B.C. The prosperity of the city, damaged by the Galatians and the Bithynians, was utterly destroyed in the Mithridatic Wars.
SH56929. Silver stater, SNG BM 1607 (same dies), Rec Gen I.2 35, VF, weight 9.630 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Heraklia mint, 345 - 337 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos left wearing ivy wreath, thyrsos over shoulder; reverse TIMOΘΕOY ΔIONYΣIOY, Herakles standing left, nude but for lion's skin over shoulder, erecting trophy of captured arms, his club leaning on the trophy, ram's head left between his legs; ex CNG auction XXVII, 29 Sep 93, lot 548; ex Superior Galleries auction 6 & 7 Dec 1991, lot 429; rare; SOLD




  



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REFERENCES|

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


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