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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Love & BeautyView 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; $200.00 (170.00)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
GB84659. Bronze AE 21, RPC Online VI temp 3873 (4 spec.), BMC Mysia -, SNG anakkale -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tb -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Leypold -, F, well centered, small central cavities, weight 6.202 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 45o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES L SEP SEV ALEXANDER (many letters blundered or retrograde), laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse DEO CVPIDI-NI C G I H PAR (D and H blundered, god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, herm at feet on left; extremely rare; $125.00 (106.25)


Sikyon, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 100 - 60 B.C.

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The affectionate dove, the bird of love, was sacred to the goddess of love, Venus (Aphrodite). Doves were said to draw her heavenly chariot, and the Syrian Aphrodite Ashtarte was said to have been hatched from an egg and nursed by doves. The phrase attributed to Jesus, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matthew 10.16), was no random metaphor but a traditional Syrian invocation.
GS87458. Silver triobol, BCD Peloponnesos 344.1; BMC Peloponnesus p. 52, 197; HGC 5 217 (S), aVF, toned, off center, reverse double struck, die wear, porous, weight 2.158 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 135o, Sikyon mint, magistrate Olympiadas, c. 100 - 60 B.C.; obverse dove flying right, no control symbol; reverse large Σ, OΛYM/ΠI-A/∆AΣ in three horizontal lines, all within incuse square; $125.00 (106.25)


Kassope, Epiros, c. 342 - 325 B.C.

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Kassope was an ancient Greek city in Epirus which occupied a magnificent and remote site on a high platform overlooking the sea, the Ambracian Gulf and the fertile lands to the south, and with the slopes of the Zalongo mountain to the north. The ruins are one of the best remaining examples of a city built on a rectilinear street grid of a Hippodamian plan in Greece. The city was founded in the middle of the 4th century B.C. as the capital of the Kassopaeans, a sub-tribe of the Thesprotians. It belonged to the Aetolian League and is mentioned in the war between Cassander and Alcetas II of Epirus in 312 B.C. The city flourished in the 3rd century B.C., when large public buildings were built. It was destroyed by Roman forces in 168 - 167 B.C. and abandoned in 31 B.C. when the remaining inhabitants resettled to Nikopolis the regions new capital. Visible remains include the Cyclopean walls, an agora, a theater, and the prytaneion.Kassope

GB88313. Bronze AE 19, Franke, series 11, 21; Hunterian II p. 10, 1; Weber II 3003; SNG Cop 44 var. (ΓOΛY on rev.); BMC Thessaly p. 98, 5 var. (same), gF, rough pitting and corrosion, legend obscured, weight 6.379 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Kassope mint, c. 342 - 325 B.C.; obverse KAΣΣΩΠAIΩN clockwise above, head of Aphrodite right, wearing earring and crown ornamented with honeysuckle, hair rolled and in formal spiral curls down neck; reverse dove flying left within laurel wreath; very rare; $120.00 (102.00)


Uranopolis, Macedonia, c. 300 B.C.

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The globe on this coin type of Uranoplis is the earliest known depiction of the earth in its actual shape. The exact location of Uranopolis is unknown, though perhaps the city was located on the peninsula of Athos. -- Wikipedia
GB88226. Bronze AE 16, SNG Cop 455; SNG ANS 914; SNG Evelpidis 1363; BMC Macedonia p. 134, 2; AMNG III 3, aVF, green patina, porous, weight 3.456 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 0o, Macedonia, Uranopolis mint, c. 300 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays representing the sun; reverse Aphrodite Urania seated facing on globe, wearing chiton and peplos, star on head, long scepter vertical in right hand, OYPANI∆ΩN downward on right, ΠOΛEΩΣ downward on left; $110.00 (93.50)


Roman Republic, L. & C. Memmius L.f. Galeria, 87 B.C.

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This issue was struck by two brothers, Lucius and Gaius, sons of Lucius Memmius Galeria, moneyer in 106 B.C., whose type they imitate. EX SC indicates this type was struck by special decree of the Senate. See Roman Names in NumisWiki to learn how to read the abbreviations in moneyer names.
RR88388. Silver denarius, Crawford 349/1, Sydenham 712, RSC I Memmia 8, SRCV I 262, RBW Collection 1328 var. (control), BMCRR I Rome 2421 ff. var. (var. controls, no rev. L), gF, bright with some luster, weak reverse center, porosity, reverse slightly off center on a broad flan, weight 3.768 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 87 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Saturn left, harpa behind, EXSC (ex Senatus Consulto) below, reversed L (control symbol) below chin; reverse Venus in a slow biga walking right, nude, reins in both hands and long scepter in left hand, cupid flying left above holding open wreath, LCMEMIESLF / GAL in exergue; $110.00 (93.50)


Nagidos, Cilicia, c. 420 - 280 B.C.

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Nagidos, a colony of Samos, was located in Cilicia on a hill at the mouth of the Sini Cay (Bozyazi Dere) near modern Bozyazi in Mersin Province, Turkey. Nagidos minted coins with a grape cluster as a symbol of the city, some with both Greek and Aramaic inscriptions, and one type bearing the name of the Persian satrap Pharnabazus. Aphrodite appears most often on the coins, indicating her sanctuary was the most important in the city. Alexander the Great conquered Cilicia in 133 B.C. After his death, Cilicia briefly came under Seleucid rule. About 270 B.C., the Ptolemaic Empire conquered Cilicia. When the city of Arsinoe was founded on land claimed by Nagidos, the Nagidians refused to recognize the settlers. To resolve the dispute, Nagidos was designated as the mother city and the citizens of both shared a single citizenship. Cilicia came under Seleucid rule in 197 B.C. Nagidos was abandoned in the middle of the second century B.C., possibly due to attacks by the Cilician pirates.
GS88168. Silver obol, SNG BnF 11, Trait II 1507, Gktrk 3 var. (NAGΓ), SNG Levante 3 var. (types right); Lederer Nagidos -, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, VF, toned, obverse off center, die wear, light marks, mild porosity, weight 0.716 g, maximum diameter 9.1 mm, die axis 270o, Nagidos (Bozyazi, Turkey) mint, c. 420 - 380 B.C.; obverse head of Aphrodite left, with hair in sphendone; reverse bearded head of Dionysos left, NAΓI upward on left; ex Triskeles auction 26 (VAuction 334), lot 188; $95.00 (80.75)


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; $80.00 (68.00)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
RP88071. Bronze AE 21, RPC Online VI temp 3873 (4 spec.), BMC Mysia -, SNG anakkale -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tb -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Leypold -, aVF/F, pitting/corrosion, reverse slightly off center, weight 6.050 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 225o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES L SEP SEV ALEXANDER (many letters blundered or retrograde), laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse DEO CVPIDI-NI C G I H PAR (D and H blundered, god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, herm at feet on left; extremely rare; $80.00 (68.00)


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 (59.50)




  



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Love & Beauty