Sunday, March 13, 2011

Type 37: The Judgement of Paris

The famous scene of the contest between the three goddesses Aphrodite, Athena and Hera for the golden apple inscribed To the Fairest (the award of the apple to Aphrodite by Paris, who in turn was rewarded with the love of Helen of Troy, set in motion the events leading to the Trojan War) is represented on rare coins of several cities: Scepsis and Ilium in Troas, Tarsus in Cilicia and (including Eros) Alexandreia in Egypt. The coins of Scepsis are unusual in that they show Eros, not Paris, holding out the apple.

* Scepsis in Troas, coins of Caracalla (illustration of reverse).

Æ 36. Obv. AY KAI M AYPH ANTΩNEINOC. Laureate, draped bust of Caracalla r. Rev. IΔH above l., CKHΨIΩN ΔAPΔA in exergue. Eros on a rock advancing l. and holding out an apple to Aphrodite r., behind whom are standing Hera and Athena; behind Eros is a tree, and above him the reclining figure of the mountain-god Ida (Illustration from Bernhart). 

* Alexandreia in Egypt, coins of Antoninus Pius, large bronzes (drachms) of year 5 with variant designs but showing Eros attending on Aphrodite.



Catalogue

Scepsis / Caracalla
References: Bernhart, Aphrodite, 314a, 314b 
Rarity: RRR

Alexandreia / Antoninus Pius
References: RPC IV, 14831, 15220, 15324; Geissen 1406; Dattari 2997 
Rarity: Common (but very seldom encountered in trade)

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