View Full Version : Misattributed Bizya provincial

Jun 7, 2006, 04:02 PM
No thread about provincials for almost three months! Let me change that by discussing a Philip II. provincial coin (first pic) I acquired on eBay some months ago:

Philip II. AE19 from Bizya, Thrace, struck 244-247 AD.
Obv: M IOVΛ ΦIΛIΠΠOC KAIC, bare head right.
Rev: BIZYHN-ΩN, naked Silenos with horse tail standing right, pouring wine from bag into big jar.
Ø 19 mm, 4.16 g.
Jurukova 157; Lindgren II, 760; Mionnet supp. II, S. 238, 195.
Very rare

I have noticed that this Silenos reverse gets confused with Herakles carrying the Erymanthian boar (second pic, a Septimius Severus medallion from Perinthos) sometimes; see, for example, a coin from the same dies like mine, imaged in Richard Stoll, Herakles auf römischen Münzen, Trier 1999 (third pic). This confusion is understandable, as the depiction of a Silen, pouring wine from a bag into a big jar, ressembles Herakles carrying the Erymanthian boar, with Eurystheus hiding in a jar in front of him. There are three distinct differences, however:

a.) the jar clearly is empty on the Bizya coin; no Eurystheus visible,
b.) if you look close, you can actually see the wine pouring down from the wine bag on the shoulders of the Silen,
c.) most important: the figure has a horse tail which clearly identifies him as Silen.

It is thus clear that the reverse does not show Herakles with the Erymanthian boar, but a Silen pouring wine from a bag into a big jar.

My thanks to Patricia Lawrence who helped me with the attribution of this coin back then.


marcus flavius
Jun 12, 2006, 06:02 AM
Thanks, Lars, these are very popular to collect and there seems always a strong response when they are up forsale. This clears up a point collectors might overlook. Don't assume the vendor is correctly attributing a piece, especially in the Greek Imperial series.
My favorite of Herakles is the one of him grabbing the "Bull" by the horns. Vince