Author Topic: Thasos, Thrace: AR Stater (early type), c. 525-463 BC, SNG Cop 1014; HGC 6, 332  (Read 136 times)

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Offline Overlord

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Thasos, Thrace: AR Stater (early type), c. 525-463 BC, SNG Cop 1014; HGC 6, 332; Le Rider, Thasiennes 3 (3.77 g, 15 mm)

In Greek mythology, satyrs were lustful woodland spirits; companions of Dionysus, the god of Wine. For over a century, the Aegean island of Thasos, famed for its wine, issued coins depicting a satyr behaving inappropriately with a protesting maenad (a female follower of Dionysus).

There are three main types of these coins. The earliest issues (c. 550-478 BC) show the maenad’s (often described as a nymph) raised hand with palm and thumb only, like a wide V. The intermediate  issues (c. 480­-404 BC) show her raised hand with three or four fingers and a thumb. The later issues (c. 411-371 BC) have the maenad’s hand on the shoulder behind the satyr's head.

Obverse: Naked ithyphallic satyr in kneeling, running attitude right, carrying in his arms a struggling maenad who raises her right hand in protest
Reverse: Quadripartite incuse square

Offline Figleaf

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What comes to mind is tourism. It is a recurring theme on Greek coins. Apart from armed tourists, who were less welcome, a major group of tourists were sailors. More sailors = more trade = more wealth. What have sailor tourists been looking for since times immemorial? Alcohol and - as a Dutch naval petty officer once reported - lying in bed, making movements as if in married state. :D So Thasos had it all.

I am reminded of the Scythians. Greeks and Scythians lived together along the Black Sea and further out, uneasily united by their resistance to the Macedonians under Alexander the Great. Scythians thought nothing of women in battle, which the Greeks sort of had to get used to. Greeks thought nothing of male public nudity, which was new to Scythians. Was castration invented thusly? Surprisingly, there is no comedy from classical authors about this dichotomy ;)

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.