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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Love & Beauty||View Options:  |  |  | 

Love & Beauty on Ancient Coins

Venus is the Roman goddess principally associated with love and beauty, the rough equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. The son of Venus and Mars, Cupid to the Romans, Eros to the Greeks, is the god of desire, affection and erotic love.


Amisos, Pontos, c. 120 - 100 B.C.

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A natural fortress and harbor on the south coast of the Black Sea in the former land of the Chalybes, Pharnakia stood at the end of a route over the Pontic mountains from Armenia Minor. Pharnakes I of Pontus founded it, c. 180 B.C., in newly conquered territory with citizens from Kotyora. The city was annexed to Galatia with the rest of the Pontic Kingdom in 64 or 65 A.D.
GB87633. Bronze AE 16, SNG BM Black Sea 1142, SNG Stancomb 672, SNGvA 71, HGC 7 250 (R1), EF, dark green patina, light marks, weight 4.165 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, time of Mithradates VI Eupator; obverse bust of Eros right; reverse AMI−ΣOY, quiver and unstrung bow; rare; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00


Laodicea ad Lycus, Phrygia, c. 200 - 133 B.C.

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Laodicea on the Lycus was on the river Lycus (Curuksu), in Lydia, later the Roman Province of Phrygia Pacatiana, now near the modern city of Denizli, Turkey. It was home to one of the Seven churches of Asia in the Book of Revelation. In 2013 the archaeological site was identified as a of World Heritage Site. Its ruins attest to its former greatness. Its many buildings include a stadium, baths, temples, a gymnasium, theaters, and a bouleuterion (Senate House). On the eastern side, the line of the ancient wall may be distinctly traced, with the remains of the Ephesus gate; there are streets traversing the town, flanked by colonnades and numerous pedestals. North of the town, towards the Lycus, are many sarcophagi, with their covers lying near them, partly embedded in the ground, and all having been long since rifled. Laodicea
GB91507. Bronze AE 16, BMC Phrygia p. 284, 29; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; Lindgren -, aVF, dark patina rubbed to bare bronze on highest points, reverse slightly off center, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Lycum (near Denizli, Turkey) mint, c. 200 - 133 B.C.; obverse draped bust of Aphrodite right, wearing stephane, hair in a bun at the back; reverse Aphrodite standing slightly left, head left, draped in long chiton dove in extended right hand, rose on stem in lower left field, ΛAO∆IKEΩN downward on right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $95.00 SALE |PRICE| $85.50


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

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In Coins of the Ptolemaic Empire, C. Lorber writes, "This series combines a type of local significance -- Aphrodite, patroness of Cyprus -- with Ptolemy's personal badge, the eagle on thunderbolt, and names Ptolemy as issuing authority." Of the likely mint, Lorber writes, "The pattern of finds for this issue is consistent with an origin at Palai Paphos, home to the great sanctuary of Aphrodite Cypria."
GP85879. Bronze hemiobol, Lorber CPE B120; Svoronos 81 (2 spec.); BMC Ptolemies p. 7, 60; SNG Milan 28; SNG Cop 643; Weiser 3; Noeske -; Malter -, F, tight flan, rough corrosion, weight 3.046 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cyprus, Palai Paphos(?) mint, 294 - 282 B.C.; obverse head of Aphrodite Paphia right, wearing plain taenia; reverse eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, ΠTOΛE (upward on left); rare; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00


Katane, Sicily, c. 212 - 50 B.C.

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In 212 B.C., after a two-year siege, despite defenses designed by the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes, the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus forced his way into Syracuse. Although Marcellus wished to spare the Syracusans, he was unable to stop his soldiers from sacking the city. Archimedes was killed. Marcellus carried off the art treasures of Syracuse to Rome, the first recorded instance of a practice which was to become common.
GB82650. Bronze two chalkoi, Calciati III p. 110, 25; SNG ANS 1278; SNG Morcom 563; HGC 2 612 (R1); BMC Sicily p. 51, 65 corr.; SNG Cop -, aVF, green patina, scratches, porous, weight 3.768 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 212 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse KATA/NAIΩN, Aphrodite Hyblaia (or Isis?) standing right, wearing kalathos on head, holding dove in extended right, II (2 chalkoi) right; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 380 - 360 B.C.

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In historical times, Tarsos was first ruled by the Hittites, followed by Assyria, and then the Persian Empire. Tarsus, as the principal town of Cilicia, was the seat of a Persian satrapy from 400 B.C. onward. Indeed, Xenophon records that in 401 B.C., when Cyrus the Younger marched against Babylon, the city was governed by King Syennesis in the name of the Persian monarch. Alexander the Great passed through with his armies in 333 B.C. and nearly met his death here after a bath in the Cydnus. By this time Tarsus was already largely influenced by Greek language and culture, and as part of the Seleucid Empire it became more and more Hellenized. Strabo praises the cultural level of Tarsus in this period with its philosophers, poets and linguists. The schools of Tarsus rivaled those of Athens and Alexandria.
GS58069. Silver obol, SNG BnF 310 - 311, SNG Levante 217 - 218, F, weight 0.458 g, maximum diameter 10.0 mm, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, obverse uncertain female head facing slightly left; reverse bust of Aphrodite right, wearing tainia; $18.00 (Ä15.84)







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Love & Beauty