Thrace, Thasos. c. 404 BC

Thrace, Thasos. c. 404 BC


AR Diobol, 1.53g (14mm, 12h). Janus head of bearded Silenus / Θ - A - Σ to each side of amphorae; all within square incuse.

Pedigree: Purchased from Nomos AG in January, 1973

References: Le Rider (Thasiennes) 25; Dewing 1328; BMC p. 221, 52; SNG Cop. 1027

Grade: Small area of horn silver on left side of obverse in field. A few minor irregularities in the flan (in the form of indentations) on obverse at 4h and reverse on amphorae, otherwise, an extremely rare type and in very good condition. aEF  (gk1115)

Scroll down for more information about this coin.

Add To Cart

According to myth, Midas found the wandering Silenus, the satyr and companion of the god Dionysus. For his kind treatment of Silenus, Midas was rewarded by Dionysus with a wish. The king wished that all he touched might turn to gold, but when his food became gold and he nearly starved to death as a result, he realized his error. Dionysus then granted him release by having him bathe in the Pactolus River (near Sardis in modern Turkey), an action to which the presence of alluvial gold in that stream is attributed.

This coin was struck around the end of the Peloponnesian War, and at a time when the Spartan general Lysander seized the island. Prior to that Thasos had seceded from the Delian League over a dispute concerning its gold mines. 

Despite the fact that this coin is struck in silver, its connection with Silenus and gold is evident with the mythical creature on the obverse of this coin.