Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Type 14: Eros Reading

Eros is holding—and studyinga writing tablet or scroll. LIMC describes gems and intaglios of the Roman period with the motif of Eros reading. A sacred context may be given by the existence of an altar on at least one of these, but there is nothing comparable on this coin. What might it be that Eros finds so interesting that he has set down his bow and quiver and turned his back on them? The motif of Eros with a writing tablet appears several times in the Greek Anthology. Thus Asclepiades (third century B.C.) writes, My Love, not yet carrying a bow, or savage, but a tiny child, returns to Cypris, holding a golden writing tablet, and reading from it he lisps the love-charms that Diaulus’ boy, Philocrates, used to conquer the soul of Antigenes, and in the introduction to his own anthology, the Garland, Meleager describes the poet Nossis, on whose writing-tablets Love melted the wax

This charming reverse type is known only from coins of Hadrianopolis in Thracia.

* Hadrianopolis in Thracia, small coins of Caracalla.

Æ 17, 2.21 g. Obv. ΑΥT K M AYP CEV [ANTΩNEINOC]. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Caracalla r. Rev. AΔPIANOΠOΛEITΩN. Eros standing r., reading from a scroll or writing-tablet, his bow and quiver on the ground behind him (Photos courtesy of Titiana & Slavey ART NUMIS).

Æ 17, 7 h, 2.81 g. Similar.

Æ 16, 7 h, 3.17 g. Similar.


Hadrianopolis / Caracalla
References: Jurukova 389; Varbanov 3520
Rarity: Fairly common

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