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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ Cupid or ErosView Options:  |  |  | 

Cupid or Eros

Cupid to the Romans, Eros to the Greeks, is the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He is the son of goddess Venus and god Mars. In popular culture, Cupid is frequently shown shooting his bow to inspire romantic love, often as an icon of Valentine's Day. Today he is the personification of love and courtship in general.


Amisos, Pontos, c. 120 - 100 B.C.

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A natural fortress and harbor on the south coast of the Black Sea in the former land of the Chalybes, Pharnakia stood at the end of a route over the Pontic mountains from Armenia Minor. Pharnakes I of Pontus founded it, c. 180 B.C., in newly conquered territory with citizens from Kotyora. The city was annexed to Galatia with the rest of the Pontic Kingdom in 64 or 65 A.D.
GB87633. Bronze AE 16, SNG BM Black Sea 1142, SNG Stancomb 672, SNGvA 71, HGC 7 250 (R1), EF, dark green patina, light marks, weight 4.165 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, time of Mithradates VI Eupator; obverse bust of Eros right; reverse AMI−ΣOY, quiver and unstrung bow; rare; $180.00 (158.40)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
RP88072. Bronze AE 24, RPC Online VI temp 10921 (1 spec., private collection, Charlottesville, VA), SNGvA 1338 var. (reverse legend), otherwise unpublished, F, brown tone with brassy metal showing through in areas, oval flan, reverse off center, struck with worn/damaged dies with a break below the bust, weight 4.849 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 184 - 190 A.D.; obverse IMP CAI (sic) M AV - COMMODVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse DEO CVPIDINI - COLO IVL HAD PA (to the god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, right hand held over herm at feet on left; extremely rare; $150.00 (132.00)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
RP88073. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online VI temp 10921 (1 spec., private collection, Charlottesville, VA), SNGvA 1338 var. (reverse legend), otherwise unpublished, F, brown tone, well centered on a round flan, porosity, struck with worn/damaged dies with a break below the bust, weight 4.948 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 184 - 190 A.D.; obverse IMP CAI (sic) M AV - COMMODVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse DEO CVPIDINI - COLO IVL HAD PA (to the god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, right hand held over herm at feet on left; extremely rare; $150.00 (132.00)


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!
SL89803. Silver denarius, RIC IV 369, RSC III 25, BMCRE V 429, Hunter III 9, SRCV II 7074, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (4094543-017), weight 2.94 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, 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; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $150.00 (132.00)


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!
RS89494. Silver denarius, RIC IV 369, RSC III 25, BMCRE V 429, Hunter III 9, SRCV II 7074, Choice VF, well centered, nice portrait, flow lines, some die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.219 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, 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; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $125.00 (110.00)


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

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
RP88071. Bronze AE 21, RPC Online VI temp 3873 (4 spec.), BMC Mysia -, SNG anakkale -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tb -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Leypold -, aVF/F, pitting/corrosion, reverse slightly off center, weight 6.050 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 225o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES L SEP SEV ALEXANDER (many letters blundered or retrograde), laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse DEO CVPIDI-NI C G I H PAR (D and H blundered, god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, herm at feet on left; extremely rare; $80.00 (70.40)


Carteia, Hispania Baetica, c. 44 B.C. - 1st Century A.D.

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The Latin colony of Carteia was founded in 171 B.C. In 27 B.C., when Augustus had become emperor, Hispania Ulterior was divided into Baetica (modern Andalusia) and Lusitania (modern Portugal, Extremadura, and part of Castilla-Len). Cantabria and Basque country were also added to Hispania Citerior.
GB89171. Bronze quadrans, Villaronga-Benages 2609, Villaronga 65; RPC I 116, SNG Cop 434, SNG Lorichs 1337, SNG Mnchen -, SNG Tub, aF/VF, dark patina, tight flan, marks, porosity, reverse slightly off center, weight 4.885 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 270o, Carteia (near San Roque, Spain) mint, c. 44 B.C. - 1st century A.D.; obverse CARTEIA, head of Fortuna-Tyche right, wearing crown of turreted city walls, trident behind; reverse Cupid riding dolphin right, IIII VIR above, EX D D below; ex CNG e-auction 379 (27 Jul 2016), lot 655 (part of, noted as ex RBW); $55.00 (48.40)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 114 - 95 B.C.

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In Greek mythology, Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
GY91911. Bronze AE 19, Houghton-Lorber II 2388(8) (otherwise unpublished, 7 specimens cited from private collections), aVF, mottled garnet and black patina, marks, some porosity, beveled obverse edge, weight 5.785 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain probably Phoenician mint, c. 113 - 100 B.C.; obverse winged bust of Eros right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY on right, ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ on left, Nike advancing left, wreath in extended right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on right, ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ in downward line on left, monogram outer left (control), B and symbol (controls) in exergue; $36.00 (31.68)







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Cupid or Eros