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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Nude or Erotic||View Options:  |  |  |   

Nude Figures and Erotic Images on Ancient Coins

The ancients had a grand appreciation for the beauty of the human body and a rather bawdy view of sexuality.

Aspendos, Pamphylia, 333 - 250 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |333| |-| |250| |B.C.||stater|
After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.

This type is a late example and likely among the last of the wrestler and slinger staters. Struck during economic crisis, perhaps resulting from the harsh terms set by Alexander after their treachery, the flans are underweight, crudely cast and appear to be of debased silver. The wrestlers and slinger are carelessly depicted. It is not as attractive as earlier examples but it is certainly much scarcer.
GS95992. Silver stater, Tekin Series 5, SNGvA 4576, SNG BnF 122, SNG Cop 240, Arslan-Lightfoot -, Choice gVF, attractive style, toned, obverse edge beveled, edge cracks, weight 10.440 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 333 - 250 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers grappling, nude, wrestler on left holds the right wrist of his opponent with his right hand and right forearm with his left hand, E between their legs, tiny die break on right, beveled edge; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, EΣTFE∆IY upward behind, O between legs, clockwise triskeles of human legs above club on right, round border of dots; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $810.00 (€745.20)
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|
The countermark appears to be a Hoplite advancing right with sword in right and round shield in left, in oval incuse. The hoplite represents the soldiery for which Aspendus was famous. The astonishing abundance of the silver money of Aspendus is a proof of the commercial importance of the town; and the number of countermarks and barbarous imitations shows that it circulated widely in the region.22.6
SH95389. Silver stater, Arslan-Lightfoot 39; SNGvA 4561; Tekin Series 4, 11; SNG BnF 84; SNG Cop 231; SNG Berry 1224 (all same obv die), VF, attractive rainbow toning, typical slightly flat strike, weight 10.855 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AK between their legs; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, countermark lower right: lion head right in a round 3.6mm punch; ex Forum (2011); $750.00 (€690.00)
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|NEW
The BΛ is among the rarest control marks on Aspendos staters of this type.
GS97487. Silver stater, SNG Pfälzer IV 5, Tekin Series 4, Arslan-Lightfoot -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Berry -, VF, die wear, flow lines, tight flan cutting off slinger's feet, porosity, light marks and scratches, weight 10.532 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, BΛ between their legs; reverse slinger discharging sling to right, wearing short chiton, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, triskeles on right with feet clockwise; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 152; very rare variant; $750.00 (€690.00)
 


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 380 - 325 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |380| |-| |325| |B.C.||stater|NEW
Aspendos has the best-preserved theater of antiquity, with seating for 7,000. It was built in 155, during the rule of Marcus Aurelius, by the Greek architect Zenon, a native of the city. The Seljuqs used it as a caravansary and in the 13th century converted the stage building into a palace. Until recently the theater was still used for concerts, festivals and events, but shows are no longer allowed due to damage caused by modern theatrical equipment. A new facility has been constructed nearby to continue the tradition of open air theater in Aspendos.
GS97488. Silver stater, Tekin Series 4; SNG Cop 230; SNGvA 4567; SNG BnF 86; BMC Lycia p. 97, 30; Arslan-Lightfoot -, aVF, struck with worn dies, die breaks on obverse, some porosity, light marks and scratches, tiny edge splits, weight 10.484 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 380 - 325 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AΣ (Σ appears as a slightly wavy vertical line) between their legs; reverse slinger discharging sling to right, wearing short chiton, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, all in a square dot border; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 153; $450.00 (€414.00)
 


Numerian, February or March 283 - October or November 284 A.D.

|Numerian|, |Numerian,| |February| |or| |March| |283| |-| |October| |or| |November| |284| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Consular busts are scarce for this dynasty.
RA93244. Billon antoninianus, Bastien 562 (3 spec. cited), RIC V-2 -, Cohen VI -, SRCV III -, Hunter V -, La Venèra -, Choice aVF, well centered, flow lines, tiny encrustations, scattered light porosity, weight 3.080 g, maximum diameter 22.85 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 6th emission, c. 284 A.D.; obverse IMP C NVMERIANVS AVG, radiate bust wearing imperial mantle right, eagle-tipped scepter in right hand; reverse MARS VICTOR (Mars the Victor), Mars advancing right, nude except for helmet and cloak tied in belt at waist and flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy over left shoulder in left hand, C in right field; very rare; $420.00 (€386.40)
 


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

|Roman| |Macedonia|, |Roman| |Macedonia,| |"Thasian"| |Type,| |c.| |148| |-| |80| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS95927. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XII, monogram 6, 759 var. (O AE1 / R 603); Lanz (Kostial) 963 - 967; SNG Cop 1040 ff., Choice VF, toned, light graffito (AP?) obverse right, bumps and marks, edge crack, weight 16.835 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, (MH monogram) inner left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 (€276.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos IV Philopater, 187 - 175 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |IV| |Philopater,| |187| |-| |175| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Seleucus IV Philopator ruled Syria (then including Cilicia and Judea), Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Nearer Iran (Media and Persia). To help pay the heavy war-indemnity exacted by Rome, he sent his minister Heliodorus to Jerusalem to seize the Jewish temple treasury. On his return, Heliodorus assassinated Seleucus, and seized the throne for himself.
GY95971. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1313.6b, Newell SMA 38, SNG Spaer 839, HGC 9 580e, VF, high relief portrait, dark old cabinet toning, marks, scratches, spots of corrosion, weight 16.434 g, maximum diameter 29.6 mm, die axis 30o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 187 - 175 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Seleucus IV right, fillet border; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on left, palm frond tied with ribbons outer left, Φ in exergue; ex Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 (€276.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos II Kallinikos, 246 - 226 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Seleukos| |II| |Kallinikos,| |246| |-| |226| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
The Seleukid Empire was under attack by Egypt when Kallinikos (beautiful victor) assumed the throne. He lost much of Thrace and coastal Anatolia to Ptolemy III. While he was fighting, his mother made his younger brother Antiochos Hierax joint ruler. Kallinikos agreed to partition the empire; however, Hierax wanted it all and Hierax and his Galatian mercenaries defeated him. Kallinikos managed to retain the lands east of the Tauros. The War of the Brothers weakened the empire, permitting regions such as Parthia to secede. Anatolia was soon lost. Kallinikos died after a fall from his horse.
GY96475. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 763.2b-c; Houghton CSE 966; Newell ESM 201, BMC Seleucid p. 16, 3; HGC 9 303jj (R1), SNG Spaer -, F, well centered on a tight flan, rough, right monogram obscure, weight 15.850 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, 244- 240 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse Apollo standing left, nude, examining arrow in right hand, leaning with left elbow on tall tripod lebes, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΣEΛ-EYKOY, monograms in inner left and outer right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 12 (10 Oct 2020), lot 2002 (part of); rare; $280.00 (€257.60)
 


Aurelian, August 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

|Aurelian|, |Aurelian,| |August| |270| |-| |October| |or| |November| |275| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Aurelian defeated the Alamanni, Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. He defeated the Palmyrene Empire in the east and the Gallic Empire in the west, reuniting the Empire in its entirety. He was responsible for the construction of the Aurelian Walls in Rome. His successes were instrumental in ending the Crisis of the Third Century, earning him the title Restitutor Orbis or "Restorer of the World."
RA96904. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T1345, RIC V-1 6, Bastien 7, BnF XII 6-9, Cohen VI 161, Venèra 1537-1538, Maravielle 112, Hunter IV -, SRCV III -, EF, near full silver, red earthen deposit, flan crack, weight 4.300 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyons, France) mint, issue 4, mid 275 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse PACATOR ORBIS, Sol advancing left, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip in left hand, nude but for cloak on shoulders and flying behind, •A•L• in exergue; $220.00 (€202.40)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander I Balas, 152 - 145 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Alexander| |I| |Balas,| |152| |-| |145| |B.C.||drachm|
Alexander Balas, of humble origin, claimed to be Antiochus IV's son and heir to the Seleukid throne. Rome and Egypt accepted his claims. He married Cleopatra Thea, daughter of King Ptolemy Philometor of Egypt. With his father-in-law's help, he defeated Demetrius Soter and became the Seleukid king. After he abandoned himself to debauchery, his father-in-law shifted his support to Demetrius II, the son of Demetrius Soter. Balas was defeated and fled to Nabataea where he was murdered.
GY95961. Silver drachm, cf. Houghton-Lorber II 1785.1c; Newell SMA 186; BMC Seleucid p. 53, 21; HGC 9 887a, VF, toned, off center, die wear, light marks, weight 4.093 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 151 - 146 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, clean shave, diadem ends falling straight down; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY in two downward lines on the right, ΘEOΠATOPOΣ EYEPΓETOY in two downward lines on the left, Apollo seated left on omphalos, nude, examining arrow in right hand, left resting grounded on bow behind, Θ in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $170.00 (€156.40)
 




  



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