Mike Markowitz published a nice article on CoinWeek about the God of Wine - Dionysus on ancient coins. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online.
WINE PLAYED SUCH a central role in Greek and Roman culture, economics, and religion that it is no surprise that Dionysus, the god of wine, appears on thousands of ancient coins, especially from regions famed for their grape vines. These are often regions that still produce fine vintages today. Grape clusters, vine leaves, and a two-handled drinking vessel called a kantharos often accompany Dionysus in classical art, along with his supernatural followers the satyrs and his animal companion the panther. On Greek coins, he is almost never identified with a written label, but he can usually be recognized by his signature attributes: a wreath of ivy leaves and the thyrsus, which is a staff or wand topped by a pine cone.
Naxos Drachm circa 461-430 BCE, AR 3.77 g. Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 132. 30 May 2022. Lot: 205 Realized: 110,000 CHF (Approx. $114,967).
Some of the most famous ancient coin images of Dionysus appear on the coinage of Naxos, the first Greek colony in Sicily, founded in 734 BCE near modern Taormina. The bearded obverse portrait on tetradrachms and drachms dated to c. 461-430 BCE is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Late Archaic art.
The reverse of this design shows Silenos, the constantly drunk companion and advisor to Dionysus and the oldest of the satyrs. He was often portrayed as being part horse instead of part goat, as demonstrated here by his pointed ears and long tail. The engraver has brilliantly fitted the squatting body of the drunken satyr into the circular space of the coin, neatly tucking the inscription N A X I O N (
of the Naxians) around the margin. The sense of space is enhanced by the satyr's foot breaking through a beaded circular border at the bottom.
Naxos. Tetradrachm, circa 415 BCE, AR 17.31 g. Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 132 Auction date: 30 May 2022 Lot Number: 206 Price realized: 300,000 CHF (Approx. $313,545). Image: Numismatica Ars Classica.
An example of the drachm,
Very rare and in exceptional condition for the issue, possibly the finest specimen known, brought nearly $115,000 USD in a recent Swiss auction.
To read the complete article, see:
God of Wine: Dionysus on Ancient Coins
Wayne Homren, Editor
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