Friday, March 4, 2011

Type 01: Portrait of Eros

This motif is not particularly rare on coins issued before the period of Roman Provincial coinage, e.g. a portrait of Cupid appears on the obverse of Roman Republican denarii of Cn. Egnatius Cn. f. Cn. n. Maxsumus (75 B.C., illustration), 

on the very rare AR sestertii of C. Considius Paetus (46 B.C., illustrations, two variants, photos courtesy of Andrew McCabe),

on Æ from Tyndaris in Sicily (3. cent. B.C.) and Aphrodisias(-Plarasa) in Caria (1. cent. B.C.), and on very scarce Æ coins of Mithradates Eupator from Amisus in Pontus (obverse illustrated below) and from Sinope in Paphlagonia.

Far more often encountered are portraits of Eros on Æ of the 2. cent. B.C. Seleucid kings Antiochus VII, rev.: headdress of Isis (obverse illustrated below), Alexander II, rev.: anchor, and Antiochus IX, rev.: Nike. The coins of Antiochus VII are particularly common.
But on Roman Provincials, the portrait of Eros is an extremely rare type, known only from a handful of coins from Ilistra in Lycaonia.

* Ilistra (Koinon of Lycaonia), period of Marcus Aurelius. Bust of Eros l. / Vine-leaf.

* The bust of Eros also appears on a small silver gem of the Roman period (1.-3. cent. A.D.) (illustration, Gorny & Mosch, auction 208, 2652, photo courtesy of Lübke & Wiedemann KG, Stuttgart).

* A male bust which may represent Eros can be found on the obverse of a crude lead tessera of uncertain date, probably from Rome, with reverse type of Aphrodite half-clothed and wringing out her hair (F. R. Künker, auction 124, 9457; illustration, Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, Osnabrück,, photos courtesy of Lübke & Wiedemann KG, Stuttgart).


Ilistra / Period of Marcus Aurelius
References: RPC IV, 7245; Imhoof-Blumer, Kleinasiatische Münzen, 1 
Rarity: RRR

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