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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Olympians| ▸ |Aphrodite or Venus||View Options:  |  |  | 

Aphrodite or Venus

Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. Daughter of Zeus and Dione or, in other traditions, of Uranus. Julius Caesar claimed descent from Venus. Symbols include the dove.

Aphrodite can be faulted for the Trojan War. Upset that she was not invited to a wedding, she went anyway and maliciously left a golden apple inscribed "For the fairest" on the banquet table. The goddesses, as Aphrodite expected, argued who was the rightful possessor of this prize. It was determined the most handsome mortal in the world, a noble Trojan youth named Paris, would decide. Each of the three finalists offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised he would rule the world. Athena said she would make him victorious in battle. Aphrodite guaranteed the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, who was married to the king of Sparta. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite. Aphrodite enabled Paris to elope with Helen, Helen of Troy. Helen's husband raised a Greek army to retrieve his wife, starting the Trojan War.

Ambrakia, Epirus, Greece, c. 458 - 426 B.C.

|Epirus|, |Ambrakia,| |Epirus,| |Greece,| |c.| |458| |-| |426| |B.C.||stater|NEW
Ambracia (modern Arta) was founded as a Corinthian colony 650 - 625 B.C. Its economy was based on farmlands, fishing, timber for shipbuilding, and the exporting the produce of Epirus. In 433, Ambracia fought with Corinth at the Battle of Sybota, against the rebellious Corinthian colony of Corcyra (modern Corfu). Ambracia was besieged by Philip II and forced to accept a Macedonian garrison in 338. In 294, after 43 years of semi-autonomy, Ambracia was given by the son of Cassander to Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who made it his capital, and adorned it with palace, temples and theaters. In the wars of Philip V of Macedon and the Epirotes against the Aetolian league (220-205) it changed sides and ultimately joined the Aetolians. Against Rome, it stood a stubborn siege, including the first known use of poison gas, against Roman siege tunnels. It was captured and plundered by Marcus Fulvius Nobilior in 189 B.C., after which it gradually fell into insignificance.Epirus and Environs
GS95936. Silver stater, Ravel Colts 22 (-/P12); Pegasi II p. 439, 8; HGC 3.1 197 (R2); BMC Corinth -; SNG Cop -, SNG Tubingen -, VF, toned, struck with worn dies, tight oval flan, weight 8.277 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, Ambrakia (Arta, Greece) mint, c. 458 - 426 B.C.; obverse Pegasos with pointed wing flying right, A below; reverse head of Athena (or Aphrodite) left in Corinthian helmet, no leather cap or neck guard, hair in long wavy locks over neck, all within incuse square; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $600.00 (552.00)


Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.

|Julia| |Mamaea|, |Julia| |Mamaea,| |Augusta| |13| |March| |222| |-| |February| |or| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Describing this coin "as-found" does not mean recently found. This coin, part of a family collection assembled over generations, was found long ago. Silver denarii sold as found with their natural dark toning are rare. Very often the toning is uneven and unattractive and the coins are cleaned to remove it. This coin and others from the find were clearly an exception and its attractive toning has been left intact for decades and should never be removed.
RS94695. Silver denarius, RIC IV 358, RSC III 76, BMCRE VI 713, Hunter III 5, SRCV II 8216, Choice EF, very attractive as-found dark hoard toning, well centered, attractive portrait, small edge splits, weight 1.854 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 231 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in waved horizontal ridges, looped plait at back of neck; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing half left, head left, helmet extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield on left at feet against far side; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $400.00 (368.00)


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

|Julia| |Domna|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
This type is not listed in the major references because, when they were published it was not yet recognized the type was also struck at Alexandria. All the Alexandria mint specimens, distinguished from other specimens only by their style, were confused with the similar denarii struck at Rome. Roger Bickford-Smith identifies this style as struck at Alexandria. He dates this reverse type to the first months of 195 A.D. and notes this obverse legend, IVLIA DOMNA AVG was used only briefly before it was replaced with IVLIA AVGVSTA.
RS96912. Silver denarius, Bickford-Smith p. 56 & pl. 1, 10 (plate spec. has IVLIA AVGVSTA obv. legend); RIC IV -; BMCRE V -; RSC III -; Reka Devnia -; OCRE -; BPM Collection -, VF, excellent portrait, light golden toning, flow lines, Venus' head flatly struck, edge splits and cracks, weight 2.812 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, c. Jan 195 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right; reverse VENVS FELIX (Venus who brings good fortune), Venus standing half-left, apple in extended right hand, drawing drapery from shoulder with left hand; extremely rare; $400.00 (368.00)


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

|Julia| |Domna|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.||denarius|
This type is not listed in the major references because, when they were published it was not yet recognized the type was also struck at Alexandria. All the Alexandria mint specimens, distinguished from other specimens only by their style, were confused with the similar denarii struck at Rome. Roger Bickford-Smith identifies this style as struck at Alexandria. He dates this reverse type to the first months of 195 A.D. and notes this obverse legend, IVLIA DOMNA AVG was used only briefly before it was replaced with IVLIA AVGVSTA.
RS96910. Silver denarius, Bickford-Smith p. 56 & pl. 1, 10; RIC IV -; BMCRE V -; RSC III -; Reka Devnia -, VF, toned, flow lines, small edge cracks, legends weak, weight 2.680 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, c. Feb 195 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse VENVS FELIX (Venus who brings good fortune), Venus standing half-left, apple in extended right hand, drawing drapery from shoulder with left hand; rare; $280.00 (257.60)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Antiocheia, Pisidia

|Pisidia|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.,| |Antiocheia,| |Pisidia||AE| |32|
Gordian III was the grandson of Gordian I and nephew of Gordian II. Made Caesar before the murders of Balbinus and Pupienus, he succeeded them. Little is known of his reign. He attacked Persia, gaining Mesopotamia. He died shortly after, through illness or plot of his Praetorian prefect and successor, Philip I.
RP92552. Bronze AE 32, Krzyzanowska I/2; SNG Cop 72; SNGvA 8577; SNG Righetti 1346; BMC Lycia p. 189, 78; McClean 8959; Lindgren III 683; SNG BnF - (all same dies), F, toned copper surfaces, high points flatly struck, die damage on obverse at 2:00, central depressions, weight 25.090 g, maximum diameter 32.1 mm, die axis 210o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ANTIOCHIA COLONIA CAESARIA, Aphrodite(?) seated right on throne, left hand on prow of galley, palm frond in right hand, Eros running left at foot, S R (Senatus Romanus) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection, large 25 gram, 32 mm bronze; rare; $180.00 (165.60)


Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

|Lucilla|, |Lucilla,| |Augusta| |c.| |164| |-| |182| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Lucius| |Verus||denarius|NEW
Venus (Aphrodite) can be faulted for the Trojan War. Upset that she was not invited to a wedding, she went anyway and maliciously left a golden apple inscribed "For the fairest" on the banquet table. The goddesses, as Aphrodite expected, argued who was the rightful possessor of this prize. It was determined the most handsome mortal in the world, a noble Trojan youth named Paris, would decide. Each of the three finalists offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised he would rule the world. Athena said she would make him victorious in battle. Aphrodite guaranteed the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, who was married to the king of Sparta. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite. Aphrodite enabled Paris to elope with Helen, Helen of Troy. Helen's husband raised a Greek army to retrieve his wife, starting the Trojan War.
RS97457. Silver denarius, RIC III 784, BMCRE IV 322, RSC II 70, Hunter II 70, SRCV II 5491, VF, toned, radiating flow lines, tight flan, light marks/scratches, light porosity, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.323 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLA AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse VENVS, Venus standing left, apple in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; ex Savoca Coins auction blue 90 (29 Nov 2020), lot 1276; $140.00 (128.80)


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

|Other| |Sicily|, |The| |Sileraioi,| |Sicily,| |c.| |357| |-| |330| |B.C.|
Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $130.00 (119.60)


Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.

|Julia| |Mamaea|, |Julia| |Mamaea,| |Augusta| |13| |March| |222| |-| |February| |or| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Victory seems an odd attribute for the goddess of love but both Sulla and Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix. Julius Caesar, who claimed Venus as his ancestor, sacrificed to her and she ensured he was always victorious. The use of Victrix on the reverse of Mamaea's coinage at this time, not only appealed for her aid against the Persians, but also reminded the Romans that the empress too was in Syria accompanying the legions on campaign.
RS94699. Silver denarius, RIC IV 358, RSC III 76, BMCRE VI 713, Hunter III 5, SRCV II 8216, Choice VF, as-found dark hoard toning, well centered, flow lines, weight 2.216 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 231 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in waved horizontal ridges, looped plait at back of neck; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing slightly left, head left, helmet extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield on left at feet against far side; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $120.00 (110.40) ON RESERVE


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

|Julia| |Domna|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta,| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.||denarius|
Coins struck by the imperial mint at Emesa are crude and legends are often blundered, but this coin is exceedingly crude and the reverse legend is nearly nonsense. Perhaps it is an ancient counterfeit.
RS92843. Silver denarius, unofficial(?); cf. RIC IV S632 (S); RSC III 194; BMCRE V p. 105, S423; Hunter III -; SRCV II -, F, crude portrait, porous, weight 2.440 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 180o, Emesa (Homs, Syria)(?) mint, 193 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG (blundered), draped bust right, hair in waved horizontal ridges, bun at back of head; reverse VENERI VICTR (severely blundered), Venus standing right with back turned facing, nude to below the buttocks, resting left elbow on waist high column, transverse palm frond in left hand, apple in extended right hand; scarce; $100.00 (92.00)


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

|Nikopolis|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum,| |Moesia| |Inferior||AE| |26|
Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, Nicopolis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.
RP96501. Bronze AE 26, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.17.15.1 (R6), AMNG I/I 1455, Varbanov I 2900 (R7), Moushmov 1029, SNG Cop -, aF, etched surfaces, edge crack, central depressions, weight 9.936 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Aurelius Gallus, 201 - 203 A.D.; obverse IVΛIA ∆OMNA CEBA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, large chignon at back of head; reverse UΠ AYP ΓAΛΛOY - NIKOΠOΛITΩNOC, ΠPOC IC (ending in exergue), Aphrodite Pudica, nude, standing facing, covering her private parts with her hands, Eros stands at her left, wreath in right hand, torch downward in right hand; rare; $90.00 (82.80)







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