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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, 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)


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 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.
RS79615. Silver denarius, RIC IV 59(a); RSC III 114; BMCRE V p. 274, 579; Hunter III 24; SRCV II 7187, Choice EF, superb portrait, mint luster, near perfect centering, small edge cracks, weight 3.737 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 208 A.D.; obverse P SEPTIMIVS GETA CAES, bearded, draped bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF COS II, Genius standing left, sacrificing from patera in right hand over flaming altar, ears of grain downward in left hand; $350.00 (311.50)


Julia Titi, Augusta c. 79 - 89 A.D.

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Julia Titi was the daughter of the emperor Titus, and although married, she had an affair with her uncle Domitian. In 83 A.D., Domitian divorced his wife and lived openly with her. It has been said that she died because Domitian forced her to have an abortion but modern research indicates this allegation is false.
SH72986. Silver denarius, RSC II 14; BMCRE II Titus 141; RIC II, part 1, Titus 56; Hunter p. 275, 1; BnF III Titus 106; SRCV I 2612, F, slightly irregular flan, weight 3.030 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 79 - 81 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA TITI AVGVSTI F, diademed and draped bust right, hair in a long plait in back; reverse VENVS AVGVST, Venus standing right, viewed from behind, nude to the hips, right knee bent, leaning with left elbow and forearm on column, transverse spear on far side in left hand, raising up helmet in right hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection collection, ex Zuzim Judaea (2012); only the second example of this type handled by Forum; rare; $340.00 (302.60)


Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D.

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Caracalla was assassinated near Carrhae on 8 April 217, while urinating on a roadside. When his escort gave him privacy to relieve himself, Julius Martialis, an officer of his personal bodyguard, ran forward and killed Caracalla with a single sword stroke. Martialis fled on horseback, but was killed by a bodyguard archer. Herodian says Caracalla had executed Martialis' brother a few days earlier on an unproven charge. Cassius Dio says that Martialis was resentful at not being promoted to the rank of centurion. Macrinus, the Praetorian Guard Prefect, who succeeded him as emperor, may have arranged the assassination.
RS77609. Silver denarius, RIC IV 76, RSC III 37, BMCRE V 20, SRCV II 7337, Hunter III -, Choice gVF, bold well centered strike on a broad flan, weight 2.948 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 217 A.D.; obverse IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI (to Jupiter the protector), Jupiter standing slightly left, nude but for chlamys over arms, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, small figure of Macrinus at feet before him; $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; $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.
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)


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)


The Perrhaiboi, Thessaly, Greece, 4th Century B.C.

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The Perrhaiboi were a Pelasgian (indigenous non-Greek) tribal people who lived in Perrhaibia, which was north of Thessaly proper and bordered Macedonia. In the Iliad, Homer wrote of "the valiant Perrhaiboi, who dwelt about wintry Dodona, and held the lands round the lovely river Titaresios, which sends its waters into the Peneus."
GB84106. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 556, Rogers 438, SNG Cop 196, HGC 4 156, cf. BCD Thessaly I 1244 (tetrachalkon, inscription in one line on right), BMC Thessaly -, VF, fantastic obverse, nice patina, reverse rough, weight 8.934 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Perrhaiboi mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse veiled head of Hera facing slightly left, wearing necklace; reverse Zeus standing left, nude, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, ΠEPPAI/BΩN in two downward lines, the first on the right, the second lower left; $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 Mnchen 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)


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; $140.00 (124.60)




  



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