Thursday, March 10, 2011

Type 22: Eros Riding on a Lion

Just as the dolphin links Eros with Aphrodite, the lion connects him with Heracles, whose legendary strength is helpless against the power of love. 
Eros riding triumphantly on Heracles’s lion appears as a reverse type on coins of Callatis, Nicopolis ad Istrum and Tomis in Moesia; Deultum, Pautalia, Philippopolis and Serdica in Thracia; and Pessinus in Galatia. 
Generally speaking, in Moesia Eros is holding a whip out in front of him, while in Thracia he has raised the whip behind his head. The “lion-rider” coins are slightly scarcer than those showing Eros on a dolphin, and (except for Pessinus) were struck only in the Balkan provinces.

* Callatis in Moesia, coins with obverse type of Demeter.


Æ 18, 7 h, 4.18 g. Obv. Draped, veiled and wreathed bust of Demeter r., in front of her a torch, behind her K and a second torch (or a sceptre). Rev. KAΛ[Λ]ATIANΩN. Eros, holding a whip, riding r. on a lion. 

* Nicopolis ad Istrum in Moesia, tiny coins of Gordian III.


Æ 16, 1 h, 2.09 g. Obv. ΑΥ K M ANT ΓOPΔIANOC AYΓ (in ligature). Laureate head of Gordian III r. Rev. NIKOΠOΛITΩN. Same type as last.

* Tomis in Moesia, coins with obverse type of the founder of the city, Tomos.


Æ 17, 1 h, 2.96 g. Obv. TOMOC. Draped bust of Tomos r. Rev. TOMEITΩN (last letters in ligature). Same type as last.

* Deultum in Thracia, coins of Diadumenian Caesar. These are the commonest of the “lion-rider” coins. Varbanov (2225) lists, but unfortunately doesn’t illustrate, a specimen from a private collection in which Eros is supposedly holding a lion-cub. There are also coins of Maximinus I (not illustrated).

Æ 19, 8 h, 4.70 g. Obv. M OPEL ANTO[NINVS] DIADV CAE. Draped, bare-headed bust of Diadumenian Caesar r. Rev. C F P D. Same type as last. 

Similar, Æ 19, 7 h, 4.01 g. 

* Pautalia in Thracia, coins of Geta Caesar and Caracalla.


Æ 18, 2 h, 4.20 g. Obv. Π CEΠTI ΓETAC KA. Bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust of Geta Caesar r. Rev. ΠAYTAΛIΩTΩN. Eros, a whip raised behind him in his r., riding r. on a lion.

Æ 19, 2 h, 3.95 g. Obv. AY K M ΑΥ ANTΩNI. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Caracalla r. Rev. Similar.

* Philippopolis in Thracia, coins of Caracalla and Geta. There is a confusingly similar-looking coin of Geta (Varbanov 1632) showing Hermes, holding out a caduceus, riding r. on a ram.

Æ 17, 7 h, 3.31 g. [Obv. M ΑΥPH ANTΩNEINOC. Bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust of Caracalla r.] Rev. ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛEITΩN. Same type as last. 

Coin of Geta, same reverse type as last (from a Numismatik Lanz auction, photo courtesy of Lübke & Wiedemann KG).

* Serdica in Thracia, coins of Caracalla.


Æ 19, 7 h, 3.55 g. Obv. AYT K M ΑΥ ANTΩNINOC. Laureate, draped bust of Caracalla r. Rev. CEPΔΩN. Same type as last.

* Pessinus in Galatia, coins of Geta as Augustus (not illustrated).


Callatis / Demeter
References: Pick, AMNG, 288; ANS 1957.52.179
Rarity: Scarce

Nicopolis ad Istrum / Gordian III
References: Varbanov 4122-24
Rarity: Common 

Tomis / Tomos
References: Pick/Regling, AMNG, 2573; ANS 1970.142.13
Rarity: Common

Deultum / Diadumenian Caesar
References: Jurukova 72; Varbanov 2221-25
Rarity: Very common

Deultum / Maximinus I
References: Jurukova 197; Varbanov 2431
Rarity: RRR

Pautalia / Geta Caesar
References: Ruzicka 830; Varbanov 5441-42, 5464
Rarity: Scarce 

Pautalia / Caracalla
Previously unpublished?
Rarity: RRR

Philippopolis / Caracalla
References: Varbanov 1556-57
Rarity: Scarce

Philippopolis / Geta
Reference: Varbanov 1628
Rarity: RRR

Serdica / Caracalla
References: Hristova/Jekov; Varbanov 2082-83
Rarity: Scarce

Pessinus / Geta
Reference: BMC 29
Rarity: RRR

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