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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.

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Irenopolis-Neronias, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Irenopolis-Neronias,| |Cilicia||7| |assaria|
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 pine cone, 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.
RP96990. Bronze 7 assaria, Karbach Eirenopolis - (cf. 146-7 same obv. die, diff. rev. type); Leu web auction 12 (2020), 870 (same dies); SNG Levante -; SNG Paris -; SNG PFPS -, aVF/F, green patina with earthen deposits, weight 12.523 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 225o, Irenopolis (Düzici, Turkey) mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse ΠOY ΛIK Γ/θ>AΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; uncertain round countermark; reverse IPHNOΠOΛE (or similar), Dionysos drinking with his entourage, standing facing, kantharos (wine cup) in his right hand, pedum (shepherd's crook) in his left hand, Pan on right supporting him, Satyr on left standing with outstretched right hand, panther seated left at feet on left, Z (mark of value) right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020), lot 921; the second known; $810.00 (€664.20)
 


Herakleia Pontika, Bithynia, Tyrants Timotheus and Dionysios, 345 - 337 B.C.

|Bithynia|, |Herakleia| |Pontika,| |Bithynia,| |Tyrants| |Timotheus| |and| |Dionysios,| |345| |-| |337| |B.C.||stater|
 
SH26918. Silver stater, BMC Pontus p. 142, 22, Dewing 2151, EF, weight 9.705 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, Herakleia Pontika mint, 345 - 337 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos left, wreathed with ivy, thyrsos behind; reverse TIMOΘEOY ∆IONYΣIOY, Herakles standing left, wearing lion-skin over left arm and sword in sheath, attaching spear and shield to a trophy of captured arms; ex E. J. Waddell, superb specimen; SOLD


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 Semélé, 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


Galaria, Sicily, c. 460 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |Galaria,| |Sicily,| |c.| |460| |B.C.||litra|
SH21137. Silver litra, Jameson 574, SNG ANS 1, gVF, nice metal, weight 0.734 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Galaria mint, c. 460 B.C.; obverse Σ−OTE−P (P shaped like a K), Zeus Soter (the Savior) seated on throne left, holding eagle-tipped scepter; reverse CAΛ-A, Dionysus standing left, holding kantharos and grape; 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 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 TIMOΘEOY ∆IONYΣIOY, 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


Nagidos, Cilicia, c. 380 - 360 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Nagidos,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |380| |-| |360| |B.C.||stater|
This is the SNG Levante plate coin.

Nagidos, a colony of Samos, was located in Cilicia on a hill at the mouth of the Sini Cay (Bozyazi Dere) near modern Bozyazi in Mersin Province, Turkey. Nagidos minted coins with a grape cluster as a symbol of the city, some with both Greek and Aramaic inscriptions, and one type bearing the name of the Persian satrap Pharnabazus. Aphrodite appears most often on the coins, indicating her sanctuary was the most important in the city. Alexander the Great conquered Cilicia in 133 B.C. After his death, Cilicia briefly came under Seleucid rule. About 270 B.C., the Ptolemaic Empire conquered Cilicia. When the city of Arsinoe was founded on land claimed by Nagidos, the Nagidians refused to recognize the settlers. To resolve the dispute, Nagidos was designated as the mother city and the citizens of both shared a single citizenship. Cilicia came under Seleucid rule in 197 B.C. Nagidos was abandoned in the middle of the second century B.C., possibly due to attacks by the Cilician pirates.
SH13725. Silver stater, SNG Levante supplement 1 (this coin), SNG Cop 179, cf. Lederer Nagidos 24, SNG BnF 21 (similar, different controls), aEF, fantastic rainbow toning, flat strike on faces, weight 10.694 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, Nagidos (Bozyazi, Turkey) mint, c. 365 B.C.; obverse Aphrodite enthroned left, patera in outstretched right, Eros standing behind; reverse NAΓI∆IKΩN, Dionysos standing left, bunch of vine with bunch of grapes in right, thyrsus in left, monogram left; SOLD


Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.

|Kingdom| |of| |Bithynia|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bithynia,| |Prusias| |II| |Kynegos,| |185| |-| |149| |B.C.||AE| |22|
Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.

Chiron was immortal but sacrificed his immortality. Herakles and the centaur Pholus were dining in Pholus' cave when Pholus opened a bottle of sacred wine given to him by Dionysus. The smell attracted other centaurs who attacked to take the wine. Heracles killed many of them using arrows poisoned with Hydra-venom. One of those arrows hit Chiron by mistake. Chiron could not die, but the wound was incurable and caused unbearable pain. Chiron gave up his immortality in exchange for Prometheus' freedom, when suggested by Heracles. Zeus then placed him amongst the stars as the constellation Sagittarius or Centaurus.
SH71000. Bronze AE 22, SNG Cop 640; BMC Pontus p. 210, 8; Rec Gen II.3 p. 225, 26; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, Choice VF, nice style, weight 6.393 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak flying behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΠPOUΣIOY downward on left, NΦ monogram inner right under raised foreleg; SOLD


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; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

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


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