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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Nude or EroticView Options:  |  |  |   

Nude Figures and Erotic Images on Ancient Coins

The ancients had a grand appreciation for the beauty of the human body and a rather bawdy view of sexuality.


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."
RS79611. Silver denarius, RIC IV 293d; Cohen IV 389; BMCRE V p. 465, 194; SRCV II 6848, Hunter III -, Choice EF, superb portrait, centering and strike, lustrous, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.157 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 217 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XX COS IIII P P (high priest, tribune of the people for 20 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Sol standing slightly left, radiate head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip in left hand; $350.00 (311.50)


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

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This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS79635. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XVI, 1226 (O DD4 / R 989); SNG Cop 1040 ff., VF, nice style, light toning, bumps and scratches, die wear, weight 16.787 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, MH monogram inner left; $300.00 (267.00)


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

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This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS79632. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XIV, monogram 24, cf. 1100 - 1104 (V CD3 / -); SNG Cop 1046, VF, centered, toned, struck with a worn obverse die, scrape on chin, scratches and marks, weight 16.690 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, monogram inner left; $270.00 (240.30)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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In 213, Caracalla left Rome, expelled some German marauders from Gaul, defended the northern Rhine frontier against the Alamanni and the Chatti, and was victorious over German tribes on the banks of the River Main. For his success, he gave himself the title "Germanicus." It was probably while campaigning in Germania that he took a liking to the caracalla, a Celtic or German tunic from which he acquired his nickname.
SH85211. Silver denarius, RIC IV 206a; RSC III 220; BMCRE V p 438, 48; Hunter III 7, SRCV II 1357, Choice EF, masterpiece portrait, broad flan, some reverse die wear, flan cracks, weight 3.494 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right, bearded; reverse P M TR P XVI COS IIII P P (high priest, tribune of the people for 16 years, consul 4 times, father of the country), Hercules standing slightly left, head left, nude, branch in right hand, club and Nemean lion's skin cradled in left hand and arm; $220.00 (195.80)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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The as is a rare denomination for Septimius Severus.
SH66874. Copper as, RIC IV 683, BMCRE V 527A, Cohen IV 313 (4 Fr), VF, weight 11.298 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 194 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP IIII, laureate head right; reverse MARS PATER, Mars walking right, nude but for helmet and cloak over shoulder flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy of captured arms in left over shoulder; very rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Wife of Hadrian, Tmolus, Lydia

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The primary reference for Tmolus is: Foss, C. "A neighbor of Sardis: the city of Tmolus and its successors" in Classical Antiquity, vol. 1, no. 2 (Oct. 1982), pp. 178-201, available online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25010770

Foss wrote that the small city of Tmolus was first authorized to strike coins under Hadrian. He believed that Tmolus issued coinage only very sporadically and the coins were probably struck at the mint of their neighbor Sardis.
RP85354. Bronze AE 19, RPC Online III 2388 (5 spec.); SNG Cop 635; NC 1903, p. 337, 29 and pl. X, 12 rev.; Foss Tmolus p. 181, type I, VF, grainy surface, edge split, weight 4.542 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 190o, struck for Tmolus at Sardis(?) mint, 128 - c. 136 A.D.; obverse CEBACTH CABEINA, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse TMΩΛITΩN, Apollo standing right, nude, bow in right hand, arrow in left hand; very rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Solus (Kefra), Sicily, c. 395 - 350 B.C.

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Solus (or Soluntum, near modern Solanto), one of the three chief Punic settlements on Sicily, was on the north coast about 16 km east of Panormus (modern Palermo). It lay 183 meters above sea level, on Monte Catalfano, in a naturally strong situation, and commanding a fine view. The date of its founding is unknown. Solus was one of the few colonies the Phoenicians held when they withdrew before the Greeks to the northwest corner of the island. Together with Panormus and Motya, it allied with Carthage. Dionysius took the city in 396 B.C., but it soon broke away again to Carthage. In 307 B.C. it was given to the soldiers and mercenaries of Agathocles, who had made peace with Carthage after he abandoned them in Africa. In the First Punic War, Solus opened its gates to Rome only after Panormus fell. Under Rome it was a municipal town of no great importance, scarcely mentioned by Cicero. It was noticed by Pliny and Ptolemy, and later. Its destruction probably dates from the time of the Saracens.Solus
GI76344. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 310, 5; Jenkins Punic I pl. 23, 20; SNG ANS 740 ff.; SNG Munchen 909; SNG Morcom 672; HGC 2 1254; BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; Laffaille -, gF, green patina, weight 2.235 g, maximum diameter 13.1 mm, Kefra (near Solanto, Sicily, Italy) mint, Carthaginian occupation, c. 395 - 350 B.C.; obverse head of Athena facing slightly right, wearing Corinthian helmet; reverse Punic inscription: KFRA, nude archer kneeling right, wearing pileus, shooting arrow; scarce; $180.00 (160.20)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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In 200 A.D. Septimius Severus visited the provinces of Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. Palestine, benefiting from the benevolent policies of Severus, had a significant economic revival.
RS85000. Silver denarius, RIC IV 30a; RSC III 413; BMCRE V p. 190, 179; Hunter III p. 51, 9; SRCV II 6857, Choice gVF, fine style, superb boy portrait, full circle centering on a broad flan, light toning, small edge cracks, weight 3.555 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 200 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF TR P III (priest, tribune of the people for 3 years), Caracalla (as Sol) standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, globe in right hand, leaning on reversed spear in left, not radiate; $150.00 (133.50)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Roman people, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc.
RS85126. Silver denarius, Woytek 518, Hunter II 176, RIC II 347, RSC II 276, BMCRE III 549, SRCV II 3149, VF, centered on a tight flan, bumps, scratches, tiny pitting, weight 3.059 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 114 - 117 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GERM DAC, laureate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P COS VI P P S P Q R (high priest, tribune of the people, consul six times, father of the country, the senate and the Roman people), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude, patera in right hand, large heads of grain in left downward in left hand; $125.00 (111.25)


Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.

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In 295, Galerius, caesar in the Balkans, was dispatched to Egypt to fight against the rebellious cities Busiris and Coptos.
RT77118. Silvered follis, RIC VI Siscia 90b (R2), SRCV IV 14365, Cohen VII 56, EF, most silvering remaining, nice portrait, weight 8.863 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, c. 295 A.D.; obverse MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libation from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, Γ right, *SIS in exergue; $120.00 (106.80)




  



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