Description:This coin was minted in the city of Amisus, in the ancient Greek Kingdom of Pontus, during the rule of Mithridates VI. Amisus was founded in the 6th century BC along the Black Sea Coast in present day Turkey and became a flourishing city on a major trade route. Mithridates VI ruled for 57 years and was seen as the protector of Greek cities and culture along the Black Sea and in Asia. As the last great Hellenistic ruler, Mithridates VI was brought down only after repeated wars with the Roman Republic.
The obverse of this coin depicts Dionysus wearing an ivy wreath. Dionysus was the son of Zeus and a major figure in Greek mythology as the god of wine, agriculture and theater. He was also the Liberator, freeing one from one's normal self and to bring an end to care and worry with music, ecstasy and wine. Dionysus is also well known for granting King Midas his choice of any reward he wanted. The King asked that whatever he touches should be changed into gold. Midas rejoiced in his new power, until he turned his daughter and his food into gold. After begging Dionysus, he was told to wash his hands in the river Pactolus which changed the river sands into gold (explaining why the sands of the Pactolus were rich in gold). The reverse of this coin shows a thyrsus, which was associated with Dionysus and his followers as a symbol of prosperity, fertility, hedonism and pleasure.