THRACE, (Thassos), 525-450 BC


ID Number: AC04-0101
Category: Ancient Coins
Description: THRACE, (Thassos), 525-450 BC
Country or State: THRACE, Island of Thassos
Period: 525-450 BC
Head of State/Ruler:  
Currency: Silver Stater
Face Value:  
Obverse: Satyr advancing right, carrying protesting nymph
Obverse Legend:  
Obverse Designer:  
Reverse: Quadripartite incuse square
Reverse Legend:  
Reverse Designer:  
Edge: Irregular
Note: This popular design originated in Thrace, in the northern part of Greece – a region that a purist would argue was not Greek at all. These staters show on their obverse a satyr abducting a nymph, and on their reverse a punch with no design. A later version, seemingly produced between about 435 and 400 B.C., has a similar design, though this time the satyr seduces the nymph, whom he cradles in his arms
Mint Mark:  
Composition: Silver (Ag)
Diameter: ~17.0 mm (irregular)
Weight: 3.2 grams
Krause & Mishler Number:  
Other Catalog Number: BMC.2; SNG Cop.1009
State of Conservation: Very Fine (VF)

Proof (Prf) € -
Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) € -
Mint State/Mint Condition (MS) € -
Uncirculated (Unc) € -
Extremely Fine (XF) € -
Very Fine (VF) € -
Fine (F) € -
Very Good (VG) € -
Good (G) € -


Ritual abduction as a form of exogamy was, and is still, frequent in tribal society. The reference here is probably to the Dionysiac cult and is modeled on one of the stone reliefs for which Thassos is famous.

The overtly sexual displays seen on many early Greek coins can be disconcerting to the modern eye, viewing them through the lens of centuries of Christian fulminations against ‘paganism’ and its erotic excesses. These scenes are at their most graphic in northern Greece, for example, on the archaic coins of Siris (‘Lete’) and the island of Thassos, showing the interplay of nymphs and satyrs.

The towns and tribes of this region were only newly introduced to the ‘civilizing’ influences of the south, and were still close to their roots in farming and herding cultures. Their gods were not the Olympian super beings, but the spirits of nature, and the emphasis was on celebrating the fecundity of fields and flocks.