“Of the gods they worship only Ares and Dionysus and Artemis. Their kings, however, apart from the rest of the people, worship Hermes more than all gods, and swear by him alone; and they say that they are descended from Hermes.” This is how Herodotus describes the customs of the Thracians. Naturally, here we have the typical misunderstanding of a Greek trying to refer to foreign deities by using the names of the gods he worships.
Known only from their coinage, the Orreskioi, like many of the other Thraco-Macedonian groups, inhabited the mountainous region along the Strymon River which divided Macedon, Paionia, and Thrace, though the exact location remains uncertain. Their name may almost certainly derive from the Greek oreskwoi, meaning mountainfolk, an epithet associated since Homer with the wild, mountain-bred Centaurs. The lack of any evidence for the Orreskioi in the Greek authors indicates an apparent lack of interest in the region prior to the rise to international prominence of the Macedonian royal house in the fourth century BC. What is clear is that the region’s coining authorities adopted a common weight standard and designs based on regional mythological associations: the horseman, or Ares type may refer to the Homeric hero Diomedes, renowned for his fire-breathing horses; the satyr-maenad type alluding to Dionysos; and the herdsman, or Hermes type, as evidenced by this coin and the contemporary oktadrachm of Getas, king of the Edones, which refers to the theft by the infant god of the cattle of the Sun (Apollo). Macedon had a close connection with both gods; in fact, the caduceus continued to be employed as a brand on Macedonian horses. The royal house, however, apparently found the allusion of the herdsman design too ambiguous or deemed it inappropriate as the new iconography. It therefore did not continue the type among its own regal types; instead choosing the horseman as its early type.
Hermes (Anax) in the guise of a herdsman walking right between two bulls walking right, far one with head raised; nude, bearded, in flat, broad-brimmed hat; upper body in front view; right hand drawn back, holding staves diagonally upwards; outstretched left hand pressing against neck of far animal; Below right, an akanthos flower
Fourpart incuse square, amphora with high handles in bottom left compartment
A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.