Sunday, March 13, 2011

Type 39: Eros with Astarte

Berytus (Beirut) supposedly derived its name from Beroë, the daughter of Aphrodite (Astarte) and Adonis, who was wooed by both Dionysus and Poseidon. Coins were struck with reverse type of the temple of Astarte, including attendant Erotes in different variations.

The little figure at the feet of Astarte or Tyche on coins from other cities in the region, e.g. Sidon in Phoenicia, Gadara in the Decapolis, has occasionally been described as Eros, but is more likely to be the so-called Marsyas of the Forum (a common type on Colonial coins) or a river-god. 

* Berytus in Phoenicia, coins of Macrinus (not illustrated), Diadumenian (not illustrated) and Elagabalus.


Æ 31, 6 h, 19.69 g. Obv.  IMP CAES M AVR ANTONINVS AVG. Laureate bust draped and cuirassed r. Rev. COL IVL AVG FEL, in exergue BER. Astarte standing facing in tetrastyle temple, holding standard; she is being crowned by Nike on a column, and to her l. and r. are little figures (Erotes?) holding up objects, perhaps globes; on the roof are Nikai holding wreaths and (in the centre) Beroë and Poseidon; on each side of the temple steps is an Eros riding on a dolphin and holding a trident.


Berytus / Macrinus
References: BMC 165; SNG Copenhagen 112
Rarity: RR

Berytus / Diadumenian
Reference: BMC 169
Rarity: RR

Berytus / Elagabalus
References: BMC 175-82; SNG Copenhagen 114; SNG Righetti 2250; Bernhart, Aphrodite, 337 
Rarity: Very common

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