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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Olympians ▸ Aphrodite or VenusView Options:  |  |  |   

Aphrodite or Venus

Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. Daughter of Zeus and Dione or, in other traditions, of Uranus. Symbols include the dove.


Plarasa and Aphrodisias, Caria, 1st Century B.C.

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During the middle of the second century B.C., the neighboring towns of Plarasa and Aphrodisias united, forming a single community. The union was undoubtedly approved and probably encouraged by Rome to improve their security. The order of the names indicates Plarasa was the dominant community when the agreement was made. At that time Aphrodisias may have been little more than a small village with a sanctuary to Aphrodite. By the middle of the first century B.C., however, Aphrodisias was the prominent partner. Sometime during the reign of Augustus, the name Plarasa was dropped. The weight standard is apparently that of a late Roman Republican denarius.
GS84797. Silver drachm, Macdonald Coinage Type 2 (O2/R3), SNG Keckman I 13 (same dies), SNGva 2434 (different dies), cf. BMC Caria p. 27 (illegible), SNG Cop -, aVF, die break behind head on obv., scratches, polished, almost all of reverse legend is off flan or unstruck, weight 3.478 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Aphrodisias-Plarasa mint, pseudo-automomous, 1st century B.C.; obverse bust of Aphrodite right, veiled and draped, wearing stephane, earring and necklace; reverse ΠΛAPAΣEΩN KAI AΦPO∆EIΣEIΩN (or similar, none known with end of legend legible), eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head right, wings open, MY/ΩN in two lines in left field, ΞE/NO/KPA/THΣ / ME/NAN/∆PO/Y (magistrate Xenokrates Menandrou) in nine lines in right field; extremely rare; $600.00 (534.00)


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

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Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $270.00 (240.30)


Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

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Sulla in a dream first saw Venus with the weapons of Mars as Venus Victrix and made her his personal patroness. In the night before the battle of Pharsalus 48 B.C. Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix - seemingly a lucky sign. Caesar sacrificed to Venus Genetrix, but issued as watchword 'Venus Victrix', and defeated Pompey!
RS85213. Silver denarius, RIC III 786, RSC II 89, BMCRE IV 353, Hunter II 18, SRCV II 5492, Choice EF, well centered and struck, edge cracks, weight 3.282 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 166 - 169 A.D.; obverse LVCILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing half left, right breast bare, Victory in right hand, left hand on grounded shield; $220.00 (195.80)


Persian Empire, Tarkumuwa (Datames), Satrap of Cilicia & Cappadocia, c. 384 - 362 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia

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Datames' enemies in Artaxerxes' court accused him, perhaps falsely, of intending to revolt against the Great King. Secretly warned, he then did, in fact, revolt, c. 370 B.C. The revolt appeared to be leading to a breakup of the entire western half of the empire into autonomous states. His own son's desertion to Artaxerxes was, however, the beginning of the end, which came when Datames was assassinated, c. 362 B.C.
GS84906. Silver obol, Gokturk 25; SNG BnF 278; SNG Levante 81; Casabonne series 1, pl. 3, 22, aEF, toned, tiny edge splits, weight 0.611 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 45o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 378 - 372 B.C.; obverse female head right (Aphrodite?), wearing earring, necklace, and diadem; reverse Aramaic legend right, helmeted male head (Ares?) right; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 28 (2 Jul 2016), lot 231; $210.00 (186.90)


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

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Venus in her aspect as the divine ancestress of the Roman people was known as Venus Genetrix. According to legend, and as recorded in Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneis was the son of Venus who fled Troy after its destruction and founded the city of Rome. Julius Caesar, being of the Gens Julia, claimed direct descent from Venus Genetrix and Aeneas. Julius Caesar built a Temple of Venus Genetrix in his new forum. Most depictions of Venus Genetrix on Roman coinage are of the statue in the Forum, and do not directly refer to pregnancy or fertility.
RS79617. Silver denarius, RIC IV C388c, RSC III 212, Hunter III 13, BMCRE V C25, SRCV II 7106, Choice EF, fantastic portrait, mint luster, tiny green spots of encrustation, weight 3.246 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 216 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right; reverse VENVS GENETRIX (Mother Venus), Venus enthroned left, extending right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; $200.00 (178.00)


Persian Empire, Tarkumuwa (Datames), Satrap of Cilicia & Cappadocia, c. 384 - 362 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia

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In historical times, Tarsos was first ruled by the Hittites, followed by Assyria, and then the Persian Empire. Tarsus, as the principal town of Cilicia, was the seat of a Persian satrapy from 400 B.C. onward. Indeed, Xenophon records that in 401 B.C., when Cyrus the Younger marched against Babylon, the city was governed by King Syennesis in the name of the Persian monarch. Alexander the Great passed through with his armies in 333 B.C. and nearly met his death here after a bath in the Cydnus. By this time Tarsus was already largely influenced by Greek language and culture, and as part of the Seleucid Empire it became more and more Hellenized. Strabo praises the cultural level of Tarsus in this period with its philosophers, poets and linguists. The schools of Tarsus rivaled those of Athens and Alexandria.
GS84907. Silver obol, SNG BnF 310, SNG Levante 217, Sunrise 48, Waddington 4567, Traite II 600, Gorturk -, VF, well centered and struck, toned, earthen deposits, light corrosion, weight 0.714 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 135o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, obverse head of female facing slightly left, drapery around neck; reverse draped bust of female (Aphrodite?) right, wearing tainia, hoop earring, and pearl necklace; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 28 (2 Jul 2016), lot 229; $175.00 (155.75)


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 285 B.C.

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Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great's generals, was appointed Satrap of Egypt in 323 B.C. In 305 B.C. he took the title king and established the Ptolemaic dynasty. The ancients likened Ptolemy I to a tortoise who would from time to time reach forth to secure what he desired, but who always had a safe retreat in Egypt, behind its desert defenses.
GP84834. Bronze dichalkon, Svoronos 80 - 81; BMC Ptolemies p. 7, 59; Weiser 3, SNG Milan 27; SNG Cop 643; Malter 13; Noeske -; Hosking -, F, rough, pitting, weight 4.646 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 45o, Salamis(?) mint, as satrap, c. 310 - 305 B.C.; obverse head of Aphrodite right, wearing a taenia (ornamented with leaves = Sv. 80, or plain = Sv. 81), earring, and necklace; reverse ΠTOΛE, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings open, wreath left; rare; $140.00 (124.60)


Plautilla, Augusta 202 - 22 January 205 A.D., Wife of Caracalla

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Sulla in a dream first saw Venus with the weapons of Mars as Venus Victrix and made her his personal patroness. In the night before the battle of Pharsalus 48 B.C. Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix - seemingly a lucky sign. Caesar sacrificed to Venus Genetrix, but issued as watchword 'Venus Victrix', and defeated Pompey!
RS85215. Silver denarius, RIC IV 369, RSC III 25, BMCRE V 429, Hunter III 9, SRCV II 7074, Choice aVF, full circles centering on a broad flan, edge cracks, weight 2.939 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 202 - 205 A.D.; obverse PLAVTILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, looped plait at back of neck; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing left, bare to waist, apple in right hand, palm frond in left hand, resting left elbow on shield, Cupid at her feet on left holding crested helmet; $135.00 (120.15)


Roman Republic, L. Julius L.F. Caesar, 103 B.C.

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The "heads" side of coin (and most but not all examples of this type) was struck with a hand-held (reverse) die and the "tails" side was struck with an anvil (obverse) die. It could be described with the heads side as the reverse. Venus refers to the mythical descent of the Julius Gens from Iulus, the grandson of Venus and Anchises, and the founder of Alba Longa. Crawford notes the control mark letter on the obverse and reverse of this type invariably match.
RR85232. Silver denarius, SRCV I 198, Sydenham 593, Crawford 320/1, RSC I Julia 4, RBW Collection 1175, aVF, banker's mark on obverse, flan flaw on reverse, bumps, scratches, weight 3.811 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 103 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Mars left, R (control mark) above, CAESAR upwards behind; reverse Venus in a biga pulled by cupids, holding scepter in right hand, reins in left hand, R (control mark) above, lyre below left, LIVLILF in exergue; $130.00 (115.70)


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

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The antoninianus is named for Caracalla, who introduced it. If you are collecting one coin of each emperor, your Caracalla coin should be an antoninianus!

It was Sulla who in a dream first saw Venus as Venus Victrix (victorious Venus), with the weapons of Mars. He made her to his personal patroness. Pompey was inaugurating the cult of Venus Victrix in Rome. In the night before the battle of Pharsalus 48 B.C. Pompey was dreaming of Venus Victrix - seemingly a lucky sign -, whereas Caesar was sacrificing to Venus Genetrix, but issued as watchword 'Venus Victrix', and defeated Pompey!

RS85208. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 312c (S), BMCRE V p. 446, 86 var. (shield set on captive), RSC III 612b var. (same), Hunter III 57 var. (same), SRCV II 6785 var. (same), VF, well centered on a broad flan, excellent portrait, light corrosion, weight 5.459 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 215 - 217 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing slightly left, breasts bare, helmet in extended right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, resting left forearm on grounded oval shield behind, flanked on each side by a captive seated facing outward, both captives propping head on right hand and resting right elbow on right knee; scarce; $110.00 (97.90)




  



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Aphrodite or Venus