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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 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)


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)


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)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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In Greek mythology, Priapus was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his oversized, permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia.
RP79973. Bronze AE 17, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.17.3 (R5), AMNG I/I 1380, Moushmov 987, Varbanov I 2632 (R3), SNG Cop -, gF, well centered, green patina, areas of light corrosion, weight 2.556 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 90o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.; obverse AV KAI CEΠ CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛI-TΩN ΠPOC IC, Priapus standing half left, nude, with enormous phallus; $180.00 (160.20)


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; $135.00 (120.15)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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In 318, Constantine was given the title Britannicus Maximus for victories in Britain. The details of the battles are unknown.
RL71415. Billon follis, Depeyrot EMA15/4, RIC VII 164, SRCV IV 16083, Cohen VII 536, Nice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 3.616 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 318 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, P star in crescent in exergue; scarce; $125.00 (111.25)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 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."
SH71416. Billon follis, RIC VII Lyons 35 (R4), SRCV IV 16069, Cohen VII -, VF, nice armored bust left, sea green patina, light scratches, weight 3.142 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 314 - 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust left; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, TF left, star right, PLG in exergue; very rare; $125.00 (111.25)


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.

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"This reverse is modeled after the famous statue of the Spirit of the Roman People in the Roman Forum. It is unclear when this statue was last seen as it is now lost. Although the coins celebrate a wide range of spirits (e.g., Rome, Augustus, the Army, etc.), the basic design comes from the same statue...The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted." -- Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity 294-364 A.D. by Victor Failmezger
RT84100. Billon follis, RIC VI Siscia 83b, SRCV IV 13257, Cohen VI 184, Hunter V -, Choice VF, near full silvering, light marks, light corrosion, weight 9.180 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 295 A.D.; obverse IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius of the Roman people standing left, naked except for chlamys over shoulder, modius on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, A right, *SIS in exergue; $120.00 (106.80)




  



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