Dionysos is the Greek god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature, and the patron god of the Greek stage. Greek legends of Dionysos vary widely as to how, where and why he was born. But all agree that he was the son of Zeus, and was eventually born from a mortal woman called Semele. In addition to the attributes typically associated with him, Dionysos represented the outstanding features of mystery religions; ecstasy, personal deliverance from the daily world through personal or spiritual intoxication, and initiation into secret rites.
The reverse of this piece shows Herakles, better known by his Roman name Hercules, with his club and the skin of the Nemean lion. This animal was fierce and virtually indestructible, and with his super-human strength and intelligence, Herakles decided to strangle the lion since he was unable to cut through its skin. After he killed the lion, he used its own razor sharp claws to remove its hide, and forever after Herakles wore the lion’s skin for protection and as a symbol of his victory.