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Greek Silver Thasos Tetradrachm with Muscular Herakles

Greek Silver Thasos Tetradrachm with Muscular Herakles


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Greek: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1226221
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This Thasos silver tetradrachm coin is mint state (FDC) to superb quality grade (EF+/EF+), and dates circa circa 2nd-1st century B.C. This superb graded piece is approximately 34 mm wide, and weighs 17.1 gms. This attractive piece is well centered and shows on the obverse (Obv.) a young bust of Dionysus, wreathed with grape leaves and bunches. The reverse (Rev.) shows a very muscular nude standing Herakles, holding a club in his right hand, and over his left arm, a cloak made from the skin of the Nemean lion. The impressive standing nude Herakles, is also more defined and muscular than what is normally seen, and this coin is a better example than most of the other examples that have been on the market. The (Rev.) also shows a legend in Greek lettering seen on each side of Herakles and below. The lettering to the right reads "HERAKLES"; and below reads "THASOS", which refers to the island of Thasos where this coin was likely minted. This coin type is also classified as a Celtic imitation of the Thasos types, and this is likely the case for this coin type, but it may be that the majority of these coins were minted by Thasos for trade with the Thracian interior. The pieces with better artistic style are generally recognized as being from the Thasos mint, as the piece offered here, and the piece offered here has great artistic style for the period. Thasos is a Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea off the coast of Thrace, and was colonized by the Phoenicians for its gold mines. The Phoenicians also established a religious cult on the island to their god Melkart, who later came to be identified with the Greek god Herakles when the island was Hellenized circa 650 B.C. The depiction of the Thracian wine god Dionysus was also adopted on the subsequent Thracian coinage as well. In 197 B.C., the Romans defeated Philip V of Macedon at the battle of Cynoscephalae, and thus made Thasos a "free" city state. Pliny the Elder was later to describe Thasos as still being a "free" city state in the 1st century A.D. This coin is better than most examples, regarding the artistic style and the impressive muscular Herakles seen on the reverse, and has traces of mint luster. Ex: Harlan J. Berk, Chicago, Ill., circa 1989. References: Sear 1759. BMC 74. SNG Copenhagen 1046. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: