This daringly progressive masterpiece reveals the stern transition style that appeared between the archaic and classical. The types are dedicated to Dionysus, whose head appears on the obverse. The outstandingly striking image of the god is the result of the handling of details such as his ivy crown, the outlines of his eyes, the lines of his eyebrows, eyelids, lips, hair and its style, his moustache (ending in separate strands), his beard, his strongly defined sterno-cleido-mastoid, the line defining his chin and the slight suggestion of a smile (an archaic feature). The reverse is even finer than the obverse, showing a full-length, naked and ithyphallic figure of a seilenus (or satyr). The figure is depicted sitting on the ground, his body facing the front and turned three-quarters to the right. Evidently, the main point of interest lies in the complex pose and anatomical handling of his torso and limbs. The artist manages to overcome standard two-dimensional imagery and ventures into the realms of depth, foreshortening and perspective, using relief to give the entire work a sculptural form.
The artist was clearly familiar with Athenian art and based his imagery on paintings from red-figure vases and on sculptures, although this in no way diminishes his brilliance in transferring this imagery onto the minuscule circle of a die with such originality and technical skill.


  • Title: Greek coin
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: c. 460 BC
  • Location Created: Naxos, Sicily
  • Physical Dimensions: Diam. 27/29 mm
  • Medium: Silver

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