Asia Minor, Mysia, City of Pergamon, AR Cistophor (133-67 BC)
Obv.: cista mystica with snake in ivy wreath
Rev.: Bow in quiver between two snakes, i.F. two monograms and PA
The cista mystica was a "box" or basket woven from willow rods. It contained the sacred implements used at festivals of the two Greek gods Dionysus and Demeter for the ancient cult of the so-called Eleusinian Mysteries.
The cista is depicted on monuments, e.g. on coins, especially those of Asia Minor (see Cistophores), clay reliefs, also on the Naples Colossal Group of the Farnesian Bull usually half-opened so that the sacred serpent can slip out of it.
On snake mysticism and an ancient healer
In ancient Greece, the snake was considered the protector of the underworld, symbolising the religious connection with the depths of the earth. Its flaying stood for rebirth, eternal youth and immortality. From the rites of the mysteries in Pergamon, the details of which remain hidden from us, the believers of ancient Greece hoped for a happy life in the afterlife.