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From the Hanberry and Knoepke Collections


MACEDON, Mende. Circa 460-423 BC. AR Tetradrachm (27.5mm, 17.35 g, 3h). Inebriated Dionysos, wearing chiton draped from his waist, holding in right hand a kantharos propped on his right knee, reclining left on the back of an ass standing right; to right, crow perched right on bush with two flowers / MEN-ΔA-I-ON around vine of five grape clusters; all within shallow incuse square. Noe, Mende 74 (same dies); cf. AMNG III/2 21; SNG ANS 340-3; HGC 3.1, 545. EF, toned.

Ex Hanbery Collection; Leu 52 (16 May 1991), lot 51; Olga Knoepke (Glendining’s, 10 December 1986), lot 140; Hess-Leu 24 (16 April 1964), lot 124.

The city of Mende, located on the Pallene Peninsula the eastern shore of the Thermaic Gulf was, according to Thucydides (4.123.1), founded by Eretria in the 8th century. It later founded colonies of its own: Neapolis on the eastern coast of Pallene, and Eion at the mouth of the river Strymon near Amphipols. Mende's wealth is indicated by the high amounts of tribute paid to the Delian Confederacy: eight talents until 451-450 BC, and then amounts ranging form five to nine talents after 438-437 BC. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) Mende originally sided with Athens, but then, on the urging of the oligarchs, went over to the Spartan general Brasidas. It eventually returned to the Athenian side, but is not mentioned in connection with the Peace of Nicias. From 415-414 BC Mende again appears in the Athenian Tribute Lists, but by the fourth century the city was only minting copper coins. The Dionysiac types of Mende proclaim it as a famous wine producing city, as attested by its amphoras that have been found throughout the Mediterranean. On this delightful coin Dionysos, who rules wine and winemaking, is shown being carried home drunken from a symposium, a type of careless joy which links the world of men with the Olympians--at least until the morning.