Sunday, March 13, 2011

Type 26: Eros with a Standing Figure of Aphrodite, Clothed

Aphrodite is represented in several different ways on these coins, often holding the famous apple from the Judgement of Paris and a sceptre and with Eros fluttering beside her shoulder or standing at her feet, reaching up to her. One of the most famous types is that of the apocalyptic Aphrodite, based on a famous statue perhaps by Alcamenes and known in its Roman manifestation as Venus Genetrix, in which the goddess, one breast bared, is holding out her apple and with the other hand lifting her garment to cover her head. The contours of her body are clearly visible through the clinging material of her dress (as in the New Testament, apocalyptic refers to revelations!). This type also occurs on Roman imperial issues, as late even as the folles of Galeria Valeria.


It is also widespread on Roman provincial coins (here on an AR drachm of Julia Domna from Caesareia in Cappadocia), but interestingly never includes an attendant Eros.


The only (semi-)exception that I know of is a uniface lead tessera from Ephesus.

Although Type 26 covers a range of different standing Aphrodites, all the coins are rare, without exception, many of them extremely rare, and only a handful are illustrated here. They include issues from Hadrianopolis in Thracia; of the Magnetes of Thessaly; from Cius, Heracleia Pontica and Tium in Bithynia; Magnesia ad Maeandrum in Ionia; Antiocheia ad Maeandrum, Aphrodisias (an obvious city to put Eros on its coins, alongside Aphrodite), Cidramus and Tabae in Caria; Mastaura in Lydia; Myra in Lycia; Perga in Pamphylia; Cremna in Pisidia; and Adana in Cilicia.
The coins with this reverse type reported from Thespiae in Boeotia, Hermione in Argolis and Caesareia Germanica in Bithynia are all unlikely, though are discussed below.
The standing goddess, with Nike and transverse sceptre, and tiny nude male figure on coins of  Faustina II (RPC IV, 203) and Commodus (RPC IV, 206 and 3150) from Scepsis in Troas might be Aphrodite and Eros rather than Isis and Harpocrates, but no wings are clearly visible.

* Hadrianopolis in Thracia, an otherwise unpublished coin of Commodus sold recently at auction, with an unusual reverse: Aphrodite, clothed or semi-clothed, but in the Pudica posture (see Type 32), is standing facing, head r., on a base or altar with a central door; at the l. extremity of the platform is an Eros l. with downturned torch; at the r. extremity is another (unclear) figure; and a further Eros is floating l. in front of Aphrodite, holding out to her a mirror, apple or wreath.

Æ 25, 9.16 g. Obv. AY KAI Λ AYP KOMOΔOC. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Commodus r. Rev. AΔPIANOΠΟΛΕΙΤΩΝ. As described above (Photos courtesy of G&N, Gitbud & Naumann Münzhandlung München GmbH) .

* The Magnetes (Thessaly), coins of Commodus, with reverse type of Aphrodite Neleia, head to l. or r., with apple and sceptre, a small Eros standing beside her. These almost barbarous coins (Imhoof-Blumer) were previously attributed to Magnesia ad Maeandrum in Ionia (in Historia Numorum, Head inadvertently ascribes them to both mints).

* Thespiae in Boeotia, coins of Domitian, with an uncertain female figure standing beside a child or an uncertain object. For illustrations, see RPC II, 268-71 and Triton IX, auction 2006, 618. Unfortunately, none of the images shows a child with wings.

* Hermione in the Argolis, coins of Caracalla, with Aphrodite standing r., perhaps with Eros beside her (according to Mionnet Supplement IV, 162) but probably not, if the illustration in Bernhart (Aphrodite, 106) is anything to go by.

* Caesareia-Germanica in Bithynia, a coin of Julia Domna mentioned in a footnote by Waddington (Recueil général, p.283) with reference to a publication by Mionnet, but unseen. And not listed by Bernhart.

* Cius in Bithynia, coins of Gordian III, with Aphrodite turned to l. and holding out her apple to Eros (Waddington, Recueil général, 102).

* Heracleia Pontica in Bithynia, coins of Julia Domna, Julia Maesa, Maximus and Gordian III, with variations on the theme of Aphrodite turned to l. or r. and Eros reaching out for the apple she is holding.

* Tium in Bithynia, coins of Plautilla and Gordian III. The coin of Plautilla has the delightful detail of a birdbath with doves (for a similar motif, see the coin of Seleuceia ad Calycadnum in Cilicia illustrated under Type 30).

* Magnesia ad Maeandrum in Ionia, coins of Julia Domna with Aphrodite standing l., holding out an apple; Eros is behind her, on a column (a statuary type!), and is reaching out to her.

Æ 20, 7 h, 5.20 g. Obv. IOYΛIA ΔOMNA CE. Draped bust of Julia Domna r. Rev. MAΓNHTΩΝ. As described above.

* Antiocheia ad Maeandrum in Caria, coins of Herennia Etruscilla with Aphrodite holding a sponge and Eros a mirror (Antiocheia also struck coins with Aphrodite herself holding the mirror, see Type 30).

* Aphrodisias in Caria, pseudo-autonomous coins issued by Ti. Cl. Zelos, period of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, and without a magistrates name, period of Septimius Severus, with the Senate on the obverse, coins with Demos on the obverse (Bernhart, Aphrodite, 95) and of Faustina Junior (issued by Ti. Cl. Zelos) and Julia Domna (issued by Menestheus Isobounos), all with the reverse type of Aphrodite standing l., holding a sceptre in her l. and with a small figure of Eros on her outstretched r. arm. Note: MacDonald sees the little figure on the Demos coin as being Nike rather than Eros.

* Cidramus in Caria, coins of Elagabalus, with Eros with a torch in attendance on Aphrodite holding the apple. 

* Tabae in Caria, coins of the late Antonine or early Severan period with obverse type of Demos or Julia Domna (not illustrated) with Eros flying at Aphrodite's shoulder.

Æ 22, 1 h, 6.37 g. Obv. ΔHMOC TABHNΩΝ. Draped bust of youthful Demos r. Rev. TABHNΩΝ. Aphrodite standing facing, head l., long sceptre in her r. and l. held to her hip, Eros flying above her l. shoulder.


* Mastaura in Lydia, a coin of Otacilia Severa, with Aphrodite l. holding the apple, Eros to her l., a dolphin to her r. 

* Myra in Lycia, a worn coin of Gordian III possibly showing Aphrodite standing r., her l. on a column, Eros standing to her l., in a German auction (Münzen & Medaillen, 12, 222)

* Perga in Pamphylia, small coins of Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus and Commodus, with Eros at the feet of Aphrodite, also coins of Lucius Verus, Julia Domna and Maximus on which Eros is riding on a dolphin.  

* Cremna in Pisidia, a coin of Julia Mamaea.

Æ 20, 6 h, 4.93 g. Obv. IVL MAMEAN AVG. Draped bust of Julia Mamaea r. Rev. VEN COL CRE. Aphrodite standing facing, head r., holding her clothing with her l. and raising her r. to her head; at her feet, Eros, brandishing a whip, on a dolphin l.

* Adana in Cilicia, coins of Tranquillina, with Aphrodite standing facing, head r., one Eros flying r. to her r. hand (holding out a wreath?), while she is pouring a libation over another Eros seated, head facing, on a cippus to cippus to her front.

Æ 26, 2 h, 9.98 g. Obv. CABEIN TPANKYΛΛEINAN CEB. Diademed, draped bust of Tranquillina r. Rev. AΔPIANΩN AΔANEΩΝ. As described above.


Hadrianopolis / Commodus
Previously unpublished?
Rarity: RRR

Magnetes / Commodus (Aphrodite to r.) 
References: RPC IV, 10956; Bernhart, Aphrodite, 73 
Rarity: RRR

Magnetes / Commodus (Aphrodite to l.) 
References: RPC IV, 4574; Bernhart, Aphrodite, 74; Imhoof-Blumer, Zur griechischen und römischen Münzkunde, p.72
Rarity: RRR

Cius / Gordian III
Reference: Waddington, Recueil général, 102
Rarity: RRR

Heracleia Pontica / Julia Domna
References: Waddington, Recueil général, 120 f.; SNG Copenhagen 435; SNG von Aulock 380
Rarity: R

Heracleia Pontica / Julia Maesa
References: Waddington, Recueil général, 183; SNG von Aulock 401; SNG Leypold 115 
Rarity: RR

Heracleia Pontica / Maximus
Reference: Waddington, Recueil général, 199
Rarity: RRR

Heracleia Pontica / Gordian III
References: Waddington, Recueil général, 212;  BMC 57
Rarity: RRR

Tium / Plautilla
Reference: SNG von Aulock 968
Rarity: RRR

Tium / Gordian III
References: Waddington, Recueil général, 102, wrongly ascribed to Cius; SNG von Aulock 1012
Rarity: RRR

Magnesia ad Maeandrum / Julia Domna
References: Schultz, Magnesia, 154-56
Rarity: RR 

Antiocheia ad Maeandrum / Herennia Etruscilla
References: Bernhart, Aphrodite, 96a; SNG Leypold 796.1; Mionnet III, 94
Rarity: RR

Aphrodisias / Senate (with magistrates name, period of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus)
References: RPC IV, 43, 2417; MacDonald, The Coinage of Aphrodisias, type 67
Rarity: Scarce

Aphrodisias / Senate (without magistrates name, period of Septimius Severus)
References: MacDonald, The Coinage of Aphrodisias, types 114, 129; SNG Righetti 942
Rarity: RR

Aphrodisias / Demos
References: MacDonald, The Coinage of Aphrodisias, type 136, O195/R359; Bernhart, Aphrodite, 95 
Rarity: RR (but see the comment above)

Aphrodisias / Faustina Junior
References: RPC IV, 41, 2442; MacDonald, The Coinage of Aphrodisias, type 65 
Rarity: RRR

Aphrodisias / Julia Domna
Reference: MacDonald, The Coinage of Aphrodisias, type 83 
Rarity: RR

Cidramus / Elagabalus
References: Imhoof-Blumer, Zur griechischen und römischen Münzkunde, 2; BMC 7
Rarity: RRR

Tabae / Demos
References: SNG von Aulock 2710; RPC IV, 2744
Rarity: R

Tabae / Julia Domna
Refetrences: ANS 1944.100.48394; SNG von Aulock 2722
Rarity: RRR

Mastaura / Otacilia Severa
Reference: Bernhart, Aphrodite, 112
Rarity: RRR

Myra / Gordian III
Previously unpublished?
Rarity: RRR

Perga / Marcus Aurelius
Reference: Bernhart, Aphrodite, p.21
Rarity: RRR

Perga / Lucius Verus (large module)
References: RPC IV, 4953; BMC 30.
Rarity: RRR

Perga / Lucius Verus (small module)
Reference: Bernhart, Aphrodite, 108
Rarity: RRR

Perga / Commodus
Reference: Bernhart, Aphrodite, p.21
Rarity: RRR  

Perga / Julia Domna
Reference: SNG Pfalz 4, 318
Rarity: RRR  

Perga / Maximus
Reference: SNG Pfalz 4, 368
Rarity: RRR

Cremna / Julia Mamaea
References: RPC VI, 5928; von Aulock, Münzen und Städte Pisidiens II, 1336
Rarity: RRR

Adana / Tranquillina
References: SNG France 1880; Levante, Coinage of Adana in Cilicia, 223
Rarity: RRR

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