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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.


Severus II, 25 July 306 - Summer 307 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
RT85634. Billon follis, RIC VI Lugdunum 199a, Bastien XI 377, SRCV IV 14632, Cohen VII 43, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, some silvering, encrustations, flan crack, weight 10.066 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, as caesar, 1 May 305 - 25 Jul 306 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS NOB C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, kalathos on head, naked but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libations from patera in right hand over altar at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand, star right, PLC in exergue; scarce; $400.00 SALE PRICE $360.00


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

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By the time Alexander and his mother arrived to face his German enemies, the situation had settled, and so his mother convinced him that to bribe the Germans and avoid violence was the more sensible course. Though they were not yet expected to personally fight in battle during Alexander's time, emperors were increasingly expected to display general competence in military affairs. Alexander's taking of his mother's advice, his dishonorable method of dealing with the Germanic threat, and the relative failure of his earlier military campaign against the Persians were all deemed highly unacceptable by the soldiers. Alexander was assassinated on 19 March 235, together with his mother, in a mutiny of the Legio XXII Primigenia at Moguntiacum (Mainz) while at a meeting with his generals. The assassinations secured the throne for Maximinus.
RS85586. Silver denarius, RIC IV 125, RSC III 453, BMCRE VI 963, SRCV II 7917, Hunter III -, Choice gVF, nice style, well centered and struck, dark old collection toning, weight 3.198 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Jan - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from the front; reverse P M TR P XIIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand; scarce last issue of reign; $275.00 SALE PRICE $248.00


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; $240.00 SALE PRICE $216.00


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; $240.00 SALE PRICE $216.00


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 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 Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO AVGVSTI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Augusti, the Emperors. The figure depicted is the statue of the Spirit of the Roman People which was then in the Roman Forum (it is now lost). The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted.
RT85731. Billon follis, RIC VI Nicomedia 74b, SRCV IV 14830, Cohen VII 29, Choice EF, much silvering remaining, areas of porosity, weight 4.837 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 312 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genius standing slightly left, nude but for kalathos on head and chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libations from patera in right hand over flaming altar at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand, * over E right, SMN in exergue; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.

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The meaning of the CMH ligature, used at Nicomedia and Cyzicus, is uncertain but it may be a mark of value indicating 48 coins per pound of bronze.
RT85607. Billon follis, RIC VI Nicomedia 66c, SRCV IV 14827, Cohen VII 34, Choice EF, well centered and struck, sharp detail, traces of silvering, some pin prick pitting, weight 5.651 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 310 - 311 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI CMH (CMH ligate), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, SMNA in exergue; $175.00 SALE PRICE $158.00


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.

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The meaning of the CMH ligature, used at Nicomedia and Cyzicus, is uncertain but it may be a mark of value indicating 48 coins per pound of bronze.
RT85730. Billon follis, RIC VI Nicomedia 66c, SRCV IV 14827, Cohen VII 34, Choice EF, well centered and struck, some silvering remaining, porosity, weight 7.064 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 310 - 311 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI CMH (CMH ligate), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, SMNE in exergue; $170.00 SALE PRICE $153.00


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; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Victory seems an odd attribute for the goddess of love but both Sulla and Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix. Julius Caesar, who claimed Venus as his ancestor, sacrificed to her and she ensured he was always victorious. The use of Victrix on the reverse of Julia Domna's coinage at this time, not only appealed to the goddess for aid against Pescennius Niger, but also reminded the Romans that the empress too was in Syria with the legions on campaign. It was during this time that Julia Domna was given the honorary title, MATER CASTORVM, or mother of the camp.
RS85793. Silver denarius, RIC IV S536; RSC III 194; BMCRE V p. 27, S49; Hunter III S3, SRCV II 6608, VF, toned, some porosity, edge cracks, weight 2.041 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 193 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges and large bun at back of head; reverse VENERI VICTR (victorious Venus), Venus standing right, facing away, seen from behind, naked to the buttocks, resting left elbow on waist high column, transverse palm frond in left hand, apple in extended right hand; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00


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

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On 8 October 314, at the Battle of Cibalae, Constantine defeated Licinius near Colonia Aurelia Cibalae (modern Vinkovci, Croatia). Licinius was forced to flee to Sirmium and lost all of the Balkans except for Thrace. The two Augusti initiated peace negotiations, but they failed and they would not make peace until 1 March 317.
RL85191. Billon follis, RIC VII Ticinum 21 (R1), SRCV IV 16087, Cohen VII 536, cf. Hunter V 139 (TT, 314 A.D.), Choice EF, nice portrait and reverse style, green patina, weight 3.279 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVI-C-TO COMITI, Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, celestial globe in left hand, star in left field, TT in exergue; rare; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00




  



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