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