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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.


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior

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The Three Graces, named Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia, were the attendants of Aphrodite (Venus). They are shown on Roman provincial coins as a statuary group, nude and sometimes holding apples.
RP28313. Bronze AE 23, AMNG I/I 603, VF, weight 7.812 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, obverse IOYΛIA ∆OMNA CEB, draped bust right; reverse MAPKIANOΠOΛITΩN, the three graces, outer two each holding an apple; SOLD


Syracuse, Sicily, Agathokles, 317 - 289 B.C.

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Although Agathocles was brutal in pursuit of power, afterward he was a mild and popular "tyrant." His grandest goal was to establish democracy as the dominant form of government for the world. He did not want his sons to succeed him as king and restored the Syracusan democracy on his death bed.
SH54900. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Lloyd 1494; M. Ierardi, Tetradrachms of Agathokles of Syracuse, AJN N.S. 7-8, 1996, 238, choice gVF, weight 16.445 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, 305 - 295 B.C.; obverse KOPAΣ, head of Kore left, wreathed in grain; reverse AΓA[ΘOKΛEIOΣ], Nike standing half right raising trophy, hammer in right, triskeles at feet left; ex Tom Cederlind, ex MŁnzen Und Medaillen List 260 (1965), #17; rare with head left; SOLD


Baktria, Diodotus I as Satrap for Antiochus II Theos, c. 255 - 250 B.C.

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Diodotus I was the Seleukid governor of Baktro-Sogdiana early in Antiochos II's reign. His first coinage was issued with the Seleukid monarch's portrait. He then issued coins, like this one, with his own portrait, yet retaining the name of Antiochos as king. Diodotus' territory was so remote that he was king in all but title. About 250 B.C., he took the title too and issued coins as king in his own name (BAΣIΛEΩΣ ∆IO∆OTOY).

Recent scholarship shows that Ai Khanoum (Greek name uncertain) was the principal mint of the region, located on the frontier between Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union.
SH42566. Gold stater, Houghton-Lorber I 630, Newell ESM 723, SGCV II 7497, VF, test cut on obverse, weight 8.380 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ai Khanoum mint, obverse diademed head of middle-aged Diodotus I right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY, Zeus striding left, naked, aegis over extended left arm, hurling fulmen with raised right, wreath over eagle inner left; rare; SOLD


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!; SOLD


Selge, Pisidia, c. 300 - 190 B.C.

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A scarce type inspired by the well known "athletic" issue of Aspendos.
SH28066. Silver stater, SNG BnF 1936, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Lycia -, EF, minor flan defects on rev, weight 10.747 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Selge mint, c. 300 - 190 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one grabs the wrist and forearm of his opponent, AΛI between their legs; reverse ΣEΛΓEΩN on left, Herakles standing half-left, head turned right, club in raised right, lion-skin in left, O between legs; SOLD


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrius I Poliorketes, 306 - 283 B.C.

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This type was issued in preparation for Demetrios' invasion of Asia Minor. Demetrios was defeated, imprisoned by Seleukos and died in captivity in 283 B.C. The bull's horns suggest his relationship to Poseidon is the same as Alexander's to Zeus Ammon. The portrait is individualized, but evokes the image of Alexander. Demetrios was the first to assimilate elements of Alexander's deified portrait and the first living ruler to portray himself as a god on coins. -- www.lawrence.edu
SH75316. Silver tetradrachm, Newell p. 97, 91 and pl. VIII, 12, SNG Cop 1179 var., gVF, superb portrait, tight flan, a few marks, weight 17.018 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 15o, Macedonia, Pella mint, c. 289 - fall 288 B.C.; obverse Demetrios diademed head right with horns of a bull, the animal sacred to Demetrios' patron deity, Poseidon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ∆HMHTPIOY, Poseidon standing left, right foot on rock, trident in left (apparently inspired by the Lateran Poseidon, a statue by Lysippos, court sculptor of Alexander), KE monogram left, H right; ex Forum (2007), ex Harlan Berk; SOLD


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrius I Poliorketes, 306 - 283 B.C.

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Demetrios was called Poliorcetes, "The Besieger" for his creative siege engines including a battering ram 180 feet long requiring 1000 men and a wheeled siege tower named "Helepolis" (or "Taker of Cities") which stood 125 feet tall and 60 feet wide, weighing 360,000 pounds.
SH28933. Silver tetradrachm, CNG 73, 153; apparently unpublished, cf. Newell 33 (stater with these monograms), gVF, weight 17.045 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 298 - 295 B.C; obverse Nike atop prow of galley decorated with apotropaic eye left, blowing trumpet and holds stylis; reverse ∆HMHTPIOY / BAΣI−ΛEΩΣ, Poseidon stands left, naked save chlamys over extended left arm, about to hurl trident with right, monograms either side; toned, very fine obverse style; rare; SOLD


Magnesia ad Maeandrum, Ionia, c. 155 - 145 B.C.

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The magistrate's name is written EYΦHMOΣ ΠAYΣANIOY, with the last name in genitive, which means Euphemos was the son of Pausanios.
SH35582. Silver stephanophoric tetradrachm, BMC Ionia p. 162, 36; SNGvA 2042, SNG Cop -, EF, weight 16.547 g, maximum diameter 33.3 mm, die axis 0o, Magnesia ad Maeandrum (near Tekin, Turkey) mint, c. 160 - 150 B.C.; obverse bust of Artemis the Hunter wearing stephane, bow and quiver at shoulder; reverse MAΓNHTΩN / EYΦHMOΣ / ΠAYΣANIOY, Apollo naked standing half left, left arm resting on tripod, filleted branch in right hand, Maeander pattern below, magistrate's name with patronymic left, all within laurel wreath; wonderful style on both sides; SOLD


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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In 107 A.D., Trajan received an ambassador from India.
SH53588. Silver denarius, Woytek 270b, RIC II 128, RSC II 74, BMCRE III 328, Strack I 128, SRCV II 3129, Superb EF, fine style, bold, from sharp dies, as struck mint state except for the addition of wonderful iridescent toning, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 107 - 108 A.D.; obverse IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P, laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse COS V P P S P Q R OPTIMO PRINC, Victory standing slightly left, naked to hips, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand; ex H. S. Perlin Co., 1989; SOLD


Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 240 - 228 B.C.

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Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. by the Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). When they were forced to leave Greece, their leader, Phalanthos, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon and a local nymph, Satyrion. According to one legend, Phalanthos was rescued by a dolphin after a shipwreck near Delphi. Some descriptions of this and similar coin types identify the dolphin rider as Phalanthos. But Aristotle wrote that it was Taras, not Phalanthos, who was saved by a dolphin. On this coin the rider holds a trident, supporting Aristotle and suggesting he is the son of Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
SH20278. Silver stater, SNG ANS 1262, HN Italy 1059, Vlasto 968 - 968, sharp gVF, toned, weight 6.554 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 315o, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 240 - 228 B.C.; obverse warrior on horseback right, torso turned right, right arm extended, Nike above flying right crowning him, monogram behind, KAΛΛIKPA/THΣ in two lines below; reverse Taras (or Phalanthos) seated on a dolphin left naked, Nike in right hand, trident in left hand, NE monogram above dolphins tail, TAPAΣ below; ex Coin Galleries mail bid sale 11/21/69, #990; SOLD




  




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