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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; $1000.00 (€920.00)
 


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.
GS95927. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XII, monogram 6, 759 var. (O AE1 / R 603); Lanz (Kostial) 963 - 967; SNG Cop 1040 ff., Choice VF, toned, light graffito (AP?) obverse right, bumps and marks, edge crack, weight 16.835 g, maximum diameter 31.7 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 Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 (€276.00)
 


Roman Republic, M. Volteius M. f., 78 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |M.| |Volteius| |M.| |f.,| |78| |B.C.||denarius|
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Liber (Latin: "the free one"), also known as Liber Pater ("the free Father"), was a god of viticulture and wine, fertility and freedom. He was a patron deity of Rome's plebeians and was part of their Aventine Triad. His festival of Liberalia (March 17) became associated with free speech and the rights attached to coming of age. His cult and functions were increasingly associated with Romanised forms of the Greek Dionysus-Bacchus, whose mythology he came to share.
RR97224. Silver denarius, Crawford 385/3, cf. BMCRR Rome 3160, Sydenham 776, RSC I Volteia 3, Russo RBW 1416, SRCV I 314 (only Crawford list the lizard control symbol), gVF, obverse well centered, bumps and marks, reverse off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 4.417 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 78 B.C.; obverse Wreathed head of Liber or Bacchus right; reverse M VOLTEI M F, Ceres driving biga of serpents right, holding two torches, lizard head upward (control symbol) behind; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 90 (7 Jun 2020), lot 427; $220.00 (€202.40)
 


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; $160.00 (€147.20)
 







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REFERENCES|

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


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