Medallion disk with head of Dionysos

3rd–2nd century BCE
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General Description

During the Hellenistic period, gold medallions of different sizes and bearing the frontal representation of a head or bust were used as pendants and dress ornaments. This medallion consists of a circular sheet of gold encased by a strong beaded wire. It is decorated in flat relief with the frontal representation of a head of Dionysus, slightly turned to the left. The hair is parted in the center and held off the forehead by a wreath. Grapes hang on both sides of the face. Around the neck is a twisted torque that closes at the front. The relief is surrounded by a filigree pattern of a tendril with overlapping ivy leaves. The leaves might have been filled with enamel. A loop, fastened to the back of the disk at the lower edge, holds a short pendant chain. Two rectangular clamps of sheet gold are soldered to the back. The figure of Dionysus is slightly crushed, and the mouth area has been repaired.

Adapted from

  • Barbara Deppert-Lippitz, Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art in association with the University of Washington Press, 1996), 66-67; 140.
  • Anne R. Bromberg and Karl Kilinski II, Gods, Men, and Heroes: Ancient Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996), 115.

Fun Facts

  • Dionysus was the Greek god of wine, pleasure, and theater.