King Midas and the golden touch
Lot 1009
PHRYGIA. Prymnessus. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Assarion (Bronze, 23 mm, 6.14 g, 7 h), time of Gallienus, 253-268. MIΔAC BACIΛЄYC Draped and cuirassed bust of King Midas to right, wearing Phrygian cap decorated with stars. Rev. ΠPYMNHCCЄΩN Dikaiosyne standing front, head to left, holding scales in her right hand and grain ears in her left. SNG von Aulock 3938. Von Aulock, Phrygien II, 955-961. Rare and with an unusually attractive portrait of Midas. Somewhat smoothed, otherwise, good very fine.


The obverse of this coin shows us the Phrygian King Midas, who is best known for his 'Golden Touch': when Midas was offered a reward of his choice by Dionysos for his hospitable treatment of the god's drunken foster father Silenos, the greedy King wished for everything he touched to be turned into gold. However, Midas soon realized that the divine gift was in fact a curse, as he was now unable to eat or drink. Starving and dying of thirst, he beseeched Dionysos: ‘Father Lenaios, forgive me! We have sinned. But have pity on me, I beg you, and save me from this costly evil!’ (Ovid met. XI, 133.4). The merciful god forgave the King, and he ordered him to wash himself in the spring of the Paktolos to hand the divine power over to the river, which thus explained its richness of alluvial gold that was used to strike the early Lydian electrum coinage.
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Closing time: 12-Dec-20, 21:24:00 CET
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