Thursday, March 24, 2011

Type 57: Eros with Nike

Although no provincial coins have yet come to light that show Eros with Nike, he appears on several of the so-called Aboukir medallions, struck in gold in the first half of the 3rd century, perhaps at Beroea in Macedonia or Perinthus in Thracia, and found at Aboukir near Alexandreia, and is represented helping to support a shield held by Nike (illustration).

* A similar motif (though with Victoria seated) appears quite frequently on late Roman gold coins, here on a solidus of Constantius II (illustration, photos courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., The little figure is usually described by cataloguers as a Genius, or sometimes even as a smaller Victoria (despite being naked), distracting from the interesting thought that here is yet another instance of the survival of pagan types and motifs in Roman iconography long after the triumph of Christianity (the appearance of the Tyche of Antioch on Byzantine bronzes is another example).

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