About this artwork
The snakes used in the initiation ceremony of the cult of Dionysos were kept in a cista mystica, or sacred container. The snake represented the god himself in his role as a fertility deity and symbol of reincarnation. This very popular coin type shows the sacred snake wriggling out of a basket encircled by a wreath made of ivy leaves. As part of the rites of Dionysos, the ancient Greeks and Romans chewed ivy leaves, a mild hallucinogen.
- Ancient Greek
- Tetradrachm (Coin) Depicting a Cista with Snake
- Ancient Greece (Object made in)
- 133 BCE–67 BCE
- Diam.: 2.6 cm (1 1/16 in.)
- Gift of William F. Dunham