14 September 2010
PROPERTY FROM THE PRIVATE COLLECTION OF JULIAN SHERRIER
A silver repoussé medallion
Roman or Gandhara, circa late 1st century B.C. - early 1st century A.D.
Depicting a nude male figure lying on the ground, three maenads grasping his limbs and pulling in opposing directions, trimmed with a separately made rounded border
4 in. (10.2 cm.) diameter
Private Collection, England, prior to 1979
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J. Bazant and G. Berger-Doer, "Pentheus" in LIMC, vol. VII, 2, 1994, p. 254, no. 27.
F. Baratte, East and West: A Central Asian Silver Hoard from the Parthian Era, 2002, p. 21-23, fig. 6
This scene depicts Pentheus being torn apart by his mother and sisters. As the young king of Thebes, Pentheus banned the worship of Dionysus throughout his land. The maenads, female followers of the god, including his mother and sisters, continued to carry out their rites at Mount Cithaeron in defiance of his orders. The god Dionysus lured Pentheus to observe their festivities in disguise from the top of a tree, and during the frenzy the women spied Pentheus and, thinking him to be a wild animal, tore him limb from limb.
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