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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Nude or EroticView 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, c. 380 - 325 B.C.

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Aspendos is about 40 km east of Antalya, Turkey about 16 km inland on the Eurymedon River. In 546 B.C. it fell to Persia. After a Persian defeat in 467, the city joined the Attic-Delos Maritime League. Persia took it again in 411 B.C., Alexander in 333 B.C., and Rome in 190 B.C. Although often subject to powerful empires, the city usually retained substantial autonomy.
GS85145. Silver stater, Tekin Series 4, SNG BnF 105, SNG Cop 227, SNGvA 4565, Choice EF, well centered and struck, beautiful iridescent toning, weight 10.958 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, c. 380 - 325 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, nude, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right hand and right forearm with his left hand, LΦ between their legs; reverse EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ on left, slinger discharging sling to right, wearing short chiton, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, no trace of an incuse square; the nicest Aspendos stater ever handled by Forum!; $2000.00 (1780.00)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."
RS79611. Silver denarius, RIC IV 293d; Cohen IV 389; BMCRE p. 465, 194; SRCV II 6848, Hunter III -, Choice EF, superb portrait, centering and strike, lustrous, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.157 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 217 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XX COS IIII P P (high priest, tribune of the people for 20 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Sol standing slightly left, radiate head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip in left hand; $350.00 (311.50)


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

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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.
GS79635. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XVI, 1226 (O DD4 / R 989); SNG Cop 1040 ff., VF, nice style, light toning, bumps and scratches, die wear, weight 16.787 g, maximum diameter 33.2 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; $300.00 (267.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VIII Grypus, 121 - 96 B.C., Akko-Ptolemais, Galilee

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Antiochus VIII Grypus (Hook-Nose) was crowned as a teenager, ruling jointly with his mother Cleopatra Thea. In 121 B.C., one day when he returned from a hunt, his mother offered him a cup of wine. Since this was not common behavior for her, Grypus was suspicious and forced her to drink the wine; poisoned, it killed her. Grypus fought a civil war with his brother that ended with his murder.
GS85100. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2335(2)a, Newell LSM 28, SNG Spaer 2581, HGC 9 1196g (R2), gVF, nice style, attractive toning, light marks, die break on chin, small edge cracks, weight 16.451 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Galilee, Akko-Ptolemais mint, 121 - 113 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochus right, horn like lock of hair above ear, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY EΠIΦANOYΣ, Zeus Ouranios standing left, nude, crescent on head, star in right hand, long scepter in left hand, M outer left, all within laurel wreath; ex CNG auction 391, lot 305; ex Pegasi BBS 100 (17 February 1997), lot 159; $300.00 (267.00)


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

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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.
GS79632. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XIV, monogram 24, cf. 1100 - 1104 (V CD3 / -); SNG Cop 1046, VF, centered, toned, struck with a worn obverse die, scrape on chin, scratches and marks, weight 16.690 g, maximum diameter 33.1 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, monogram inner left; $270.00 (240.30)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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The as is a rare denomination for Septimius Severus.
SH66874. Copper as, RIC IV 683, BMCRE V 527A, Cohen IV 313 (4 Fr), VF, weight 11.298 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 194 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP IIII, laureate head right; reverse MARS PATER, Mars walking right, nude but for helmet and cloak over shoulder flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy of captured arms in left over shoulder; very rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Solus (Kefra), Sicily, c. 395 - 350 B.C.

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Solus (or Soluntum, near modern Solanto), one of the three chief Punic settlements on Sicily, was on the north coast about 16 km east of Panormus (modern Palermo). It lay 183 meters above sea level, on Monte Catalfano, in a naturally strong situation, and commanding a fine view. The date of its founding is unknown. Solus was one of the few colonies the Phoenicians held when they withdrew before the Greeks to the northwest corner of the island. Together with Panormus and Motya, it allied with Carthage. Dionysius took the city in 396 B.C., but it soon broke away again to Carthage. In 307 B.C. it was given to the soldiers and mercenaries of Agathocles, who had made peace with Carthage after he abandoned them in Africa. In the First Punic War, Solus opened its gates to Rome only after Panormus fell. Under Rome it was a municipal town of no great importance, scarcely mentioned by Cicero. It was noticed by Pliny and Ptolemy, and later. Its destruction probably dates from the time of the Saracens.Solus
GI76344. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 310, 5; Jenkins Punic I pl. 23, 20; SNG ANS 740 ff.; SNG Munchen 909; SNG Morcom 672; HGC 2 1254; BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; Laffaille -, gF, green patina, weight 2.235 g, maximum diameter 13.1 mm, Kefra (near Solanto, Sicily, Italy) mint, Carthaginian occupation, c. 395 - 350 B.C.; obverse head of Athena facing slightly right, wearing Corinthian helmet; reverse Punic inscription: KFRA, nude archer kneeling right, wearing pileus, shooting arrow; scarce; $180.00 (160.20)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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In Greek mythology, Priapus was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his oversized, permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia.
RP79973. Bronze AE 17, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.17.3 (R5), AMNG I/I 1380, Moushmov 987, Varbanov I 2632 (R3), SNG Cop -, gF, well centered, green patina, areas of light corrosion, weight 2.556 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 90o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.; obverse AV KAI CEΠ CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛI-TΩN ΠPOC IC, Priapus standing half left, nude, with enormous phallus; $180.00 (160.20)


Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.

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In 295, Galerius, caesar in the Balkans, was dispatched to Egypt to fight against the rebellious cities Busiris and Coptos.
RT77118. Silvered follis, RIC VI Siscia 90b (R2), SRCV IV 14365, Cohen VII 56, EF, most silvering remaining, nice portrait, weight 8.863 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, c. 295 A.D.; obverse MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libation from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, Γ right, *SIS in exergue; $135.00 (120.15)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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In 318, Constantine was given the title Britannicus Maximus for victories in Britain. The details of the battles are unknown.
RL71415. Billon follis, Depeyrot EMA15/4, RIC VII 164, SRCV IV 16083, Cohen VII 536, Nice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 3.616 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 318 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, P star in crescent in exergue; scarce; $125.00 (111.25)




  



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Nude and Erotic