Sunday, March 13, 2011

Type 28: Eros with Aphrodite Seated

Although the seated Venus with attendant Cupid appears often enough on Roman imperial coins, no provincial city issued as many coins with this motif as Nagidus had previously done. There are just a few specimens, from Aphrodisias in Caria and Antiocheia Pisidiae. Outside the Roman Empire: A figure of turreted Aphrodite seated l., holding a transverse sceptre and holding an apple over a tiny figure of Eros, appears on coins of Sauromates II (172-211) of the Bosporan Kingdom (RPC IV, 3887, listing 12 specimens, mostly from Russian museums).

* Aphrodisias in Caria, a delightful large Æ of Maximinus I (not illustrated), with a seated Aphrodite, naked to the waist and surrounded by three playful Erotes. The reverse of the coin of (probably) Domitian and Domita that Bernhart identifies as Aphrodite seated, holding a statuette of Eros (Aphrodite, 147) is now held to be Tyche of Aphrodisias seated, l., holding cult statue and sceptre (RPC II, 1225).

* Antiocheia in Pisidia, coins of Gordian III with Aphrodite seated r., holding a palm-branch and with her l. arm resting on the bows of a ship, an Eros hastening towards her. Why the ship, on a coin of an inland city? Pisidian Antioch was a place of some importance, and presumably involved not only in river trade—the river-god Anthios figures on its coins—but with the coastal cities too. Aphrodite, the sea-born, was also Euploia, goddess of the fair voyage and protectress of sailors.

Æ 33, 25.65 g. Obv. IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG. Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian III r., seen from behind. Rev. ANTIOCHIA COLONIA CAESARIA, SR in exergue. As described above (Photos courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.,


Similar. Æ 34, 7 h, 23.06 g.


Aphrodisias / Maximinus I 
References: Bernhart, Aphrodite, 143; MacDonald, The Coinage of Aphrodisias, type 177 
Rarity: RRR

Antiocheia Pisidiae / Gordian III
References: Bernhart, Aphrodite, 160; BMC 78; SNG Copenhagen 72; SNG von Aulock 8577; SNG Righetti 1346; McClean Collection 8959; Lindgren III, 683
Rarity: Common

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