ND; 2nd century BC
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Thyrsus, state title
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AE circulation coins were issued by Dioscurias, a former Greek colony located in what is now Sukhumi. They were distributed during the reign of King Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus (134–63 BC) during the latter portion of the 2nd century BC. Like most AE coins of Ancient Greece, the value of the pieces of Dioscurias is unknown. In various numismatic publications, they can be identified by the prefix AE followed by the diameter of the piece.
The coins are composed of brass, bronze, or copper. Examples vary in mass and diameter, but most weigh between 2.06 and 5.46 grams and measure from 15 to 20 millimeters in diameter. All are irregularly round in shape, bear a plain edge, and have a die axis of 12-o'-clock. Featured on the obverse are the pilei of the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux from Greek and Roman mythology and the namesake of Dioscurias. Two star, symbols of the Kingdom of Pontus, are displayed above the pilei. Engraved in the center of the reverse is a thyrsus, a staff covered in ivy vines and topped with a pine cone representing prosperity, fertility, and hedonism. The Greek "ΔΙΟΣΚΟΥΡΙΑΔΟΣ" (Dioscouriados), attributing the piece to Dioscurias, is written horizontally on three lines along the thyrsus, the first reading "ΔΙΟΣ" (Dios), the second "ΚΟΥΡΙΑ" (kouria), and the third "ΔΟΣ" (dos). Of these, the initial line is separated by the thyrsus between the "Ι" (iota) and "Ο" (omicron), the second between the "Υ" (upsilon) and "Ρ" (rho), and the third between the "Δ" (delta) and "Ο" (omicron).
Like most Ancient Greek coins, the number of extant Dioscurias AE coins is currently unknown.