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Classical Numismatic Group > Mail Bid Sale 79Auction date: 17 September 2008
Lot number: 608

Lot description:

LYDIA, Tmolus-Aureliopolis. Commodus. AD 177-192. Æ 38mm (29.53 g, 12h). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Dionysus holding scepter in chariot drawn left by biga of centaurs. SNG München -; SNG Copenhagen -; SNG von Aulock 3241. Fine, brown and green rough surfaces, minor deposits. Very rare.

From the J.S. Wagner Collection.

According to Euripides (Bacchae 461-464), Mount Tmolus was the birthplace of the god Dionysus.

The son of Zeus and Semele, a princess of Thebes, Dionysus was a god of fertility, vegetation and, most popularly, wine. Often, he is depicted being transpoted in a car drawn either by panthers, or, in this case, by centaurs, surrounded by an entourage of satyrs, sileni, maenads, and nymphs. A number of important festivals were held in his honor; most famous were the Lesser or Rural Dionysia (in late December), the Greater or City Dionysia (in late spring), the Anthesteria (in early spring), and the Lenaea (in winter). His characteristic worship was ecstatic, and women, known as maenads, were prominently involved. Votaries, through music, dancing, and drinking, and through eating flesh and blood of sacrificial animals, attempted to merge their identities with the wildness of nature. Dionysus was variously represented: sometimes as a full-grown bearded man; and sometimes as a delicate, effeminate youth.

Estimate: 300 USD