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    Description

    Magnificent Mende, Ex Triton III

    MACEDON. Mende. Ca. 423 BC. AR tetradrachm (27mm, 16.96 gm, 8h).  Dionysus, bearded and nude save for mantle draped around loins, reclining left on the back of an ass walking right, holding high-handled cantharus in right hand / MEN-ΔA-I-ON around square border of central linear square enclosing vine with four grape clusters, all within shallow incuse square. Noe, "The Mende (Kaliandra) Hoard," ANSNMN 27 (1926), 84 (obverse die) and 85 (reverse die). SNG ANS 346 (obverse die) and 347 (reverse die). Gulbenkian 412. Very rare! A simply gorgeous specimen, well centered and struck in sound metal, with lovely old collection toning. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice XF 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style.

    From a Northern California Collection. Ex Triton III (New York, 30 November - 1 December 1999), lot 364. 

    The evocative coinage of Mende, situated on the western finger of the Chalcidice, illustrates some mysterious and long-forgotten myth regarding Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and revelry.  Mende was famous as a center of wine production, as evidenced by numerous amphorae bearing the city's stamp found throughout the Hellenic world. Dionysus was evidently the patron god of the city; unique among the Olympian deities, he had a mortal mother and was the last to "officially" join the pantheon, although his cult was clearly one of the earliest in Greece, with evidence going back to Mycenean and even Minoan times. He was particularly popular in Macedon and Thrace, and the wild, orgiastic rites associated with his cult colored Greek perceptions of the "barbaric" northerners. Although Dionysus is usually depicted in procession riding in a chariot pulled by panthers and accompanied by dancing maenads, on the coins of Mende he is shown with a more humble form of transportation -- reclining languidly on the back on an ass, clutching a high-handled wine cup and appearing pleasantly inebriated. 




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
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