One of the most interesting themes on ancient Greek coins is that of an “ithyphallic” (sexually aroused) Satyr running off with a Nymph in his arms. These coins were made famous by the island of Thasos, who copied them from the issues of several Macedonian clans. The Orreskioi, Zaielioi, Pernaioi, Dionysioi and Laiai were all tribes that occupied the area of northern Greece called Macedonia. From around 550 – 480 B.C. they issued a series of coins that depicted Centaurs and Satyrs carrying off Nymphs. The depiction of the Satyrs and Centaurs often varies, but the pose of the Nymph is nearly identical from coin to coin: a Nymph in a long chiton is held by a Satyr with one arm around her knees and the other around her back, just above the waist. The Nymph has her left arm hanging down and her right arm raised up, with the hand in an open position. On some of these coins the Nymph is smiling or has a neutral expression, while on others her face shows clear signs of distress. The latter gives rise to the common description of the Satyr abducting the Nymph, who holds her hand up in protest.
Bearded centaur galloping to right, carrying off a struggling woman or nymph clad in a light chiton
Quadripartite incuse square
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