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Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. Daughter of Zeus and Dione or, in other traditions, of Uranus. Symbols include the dove.
Crispina, Wife of Commodus, Augusta 178 - 182 A.D.
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. RS86693. Silver denarius, RIC IIICommodus 288 (S), RSC II 39a, BMCRE IV 50, MIR 21, Hunter II 15, SRCV II 6003, Choice gVF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, attractive toning, flan edge a bit ragged with many small cracks, weight 2.716 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 180 - 182 A.D.; obverseCRISPINAAVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in round coil low at back; reverseVENVS FELIX, Venus seated left on throne without back, Victory in right hand, long grounded scepter vertical in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Ancient Coin Art; scarce; $350.00 (€297.50)
Magnia Urbica, Augusta Mid 283 - Mid 285 A.D.
It was Sulla who in a dream first saw Venus as VenusVictrix (victorious Venus), with the weapons of Mars. He made her to his personal patroness. Pompey was inaugurating the cult of VenusVictrix in Rome. In the night before the battle of Pharsalus 48 B.C. Pompey was dreaming of VenusVictrix - seemingly a lucky sign -, whereas Caesar was sacrificing to VenusGenetrix, but issued as watchword 'Venus Victrix', and defeated Pompey!RA86189. Billonantoninianus, RIC V-2 343 (S); Cohen VI 17; SRCV III 12424; Hunter IV p. 216, 4 var. (dot in crescent), F, centered on a broad flan, bumps and marks, weight 3.416 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Rome mint, 284 - 285 A.D.; obverseMAGN VRBICA AVG, diademed and draped bust right, crescent behind shoulders, hair brushed in straight lines, plait carried up the back to top of head and running under stephane; reverseVENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing left, helmet in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield at feet on left, KA crescent ς in exergue; scarce; $250.00 (€212.50)
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; reverseSIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $240.00 (€204.00)
Julia Soaemias, Augusta 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.
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. RS86689. Silver denarius, RSC III 8a, BMCRE VElagabalus 49, Hunter III 5, RIC IVElagabalus 241, SRCV II 7719, Choice aEF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, light toning on some luster, minor flan flaw on cheek, edge cracks, weight 2.547 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 220 - 222 A.D.; obverse IVLIA SOAEMIAS AVG, draped bust right; reverseVENVS CAELESTIS (heavenly Venus), Venus standing half left, apple in extended right hand, long scepter in left hand, small star lower left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $180.00 (€153.00)
Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.
Victory seems an odd attribute for the goddess of love but both Sulla and Pompey dreamed of VenusVictrix. 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 Julia Domna's coinage at this time, not only appealed to the goddess for aid against Pescennius Niger, but also reminded the Romans that the empress too was in Syria with the legions on campaign. It was during this time that Julia Domna was given the honorary title, MATER CASTORVM, or mother of the camp.RS85793. Silver denarius, RIC IV S536; RSC III 194; BMCRE V p. 27, S49; Hunter III S3, SRCV II 6608, VF, toned, some porosity, edge cracks, weight 2.041 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 193 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges and large bun at back of head; reverseVENERI VICTR (victorious Venus), Venus standing right, facing away, seen from behind, naked to the buttocks, resting left elbow on waist high column, transverse palm frond in left hand, apple in extended right hand; $160.00 (€136.00)
Persian Empire, Tarkumuwa (Datames), Satrap of Cilicia & Cappadocia, c. 384 - 362 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia
In historical times, Tarsos was first ruled by the Hittites, followed by Assyria, and then the Persian Empire. Tarsus, as the principal town of Cilicia, was the seat of a Persian satrapy from 400 B.C. onward. Indeed, Xenophon records that in 401 B.C., when Cyrus the Younger marched against Babylon, the city was governed by King Syennesis in the name of the Persian monarch. Alexander the Great passed through with his armies in 333 B.C. and nearly met his death here after a bath in the Cydnus. By this time Tarsus was already largely influenced by Greek language and culture, and as part of the Seleucid Empire it became more and more Hellenized. Strabo praises the cultural level of Tarsus in this period with its philosophers, poets and linguists. The schools of Tarsus rivaled those of Athens and Alexandria.GS84907. Silver obol, SNG BnF 310, SNG Levante 217, Sunrise 48, Waddington 4567, Traite II 600, Gorturk -, VF, well centered and struck, toned, earthen deposits, light corrosion, weight 0.714 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 135o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, obversehead of female facing slightly left, drapery around neck; reverse draped bust of female (Aphrodite?) right, wearing tainia, hoop earring, and pearl necklace; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 28 (2 Jul 2016), lot 229; $150.00 (€127.50)
Plautilla, Augusta 202 - 22 January 205 A.D., Wife of Caracalla
Sulla in a dream first saw Venus with the weapons of Mars as VenusVictrix and made her his personal patroness. In the night before the battle of Pharsalus 48 B.C. Pompey dreamed of VenusVictrix - seemingly a lucky sign. Caesar sacrificed to VenusGenetrix, but issued as watchword 'Venus Victrix', and defeated Pompey!RS85215. Silver denarius, RIC IV 369, RSC III 25, BMCRE V 429, Hunter III 9, SRCV II 7074, Choice aVF, full circles centering on a broad flan, edge cracks, weight 2.939 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 202 - 205 A.D.; obverse PLAVTILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, looped plait at back of neck; reverseVENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing left, bare to waist, apple in right hand, palm frond in left hand, resting left elbow on shield, Cupid at her feet on left holding crested helmet; $120.00 (€102.00)
Paphos, Cyprus, Timarchos or Nicoles, c. 350 - 332 B.C.
The Greeks agreed that Aphrodite had landed at the site of Paphos when she rose from the sea. According to Pausanias (i. 14), her worship was introduced to Paphos from Syria; but much more probably it was of Phoenician origin. The cult of Aphrodite had been established before the time of Homer (c. 700 B.C.), as the grove and altar of Aphrodite at Paphos are mentioned in the Odyssey (viii. 362). Archaeology has established that Cypriots venerated a fertility goddess before the arrival of the Greeks, in a cult that combined Aegean and eastern mainland aspects. Female figurines and charms found in the immediate vicinity date as far back as the early third millennium. The temenos was well established before the first structures were erected in the Late Bronze Age. There was unbroken continuity of cult from that time until 391 A.D. when the Roman Emperor Theodosius I outlawed all pagan religions and the sanctuary fell into the ruins in which we find it today. GB87116. Bronze AE 15, Bank of Cyprus p. 71 & pl. 5, 22; BMC Cyprus p. 44, 49 var. (11.4mm); SGCV II 5788 var. (same); Tziambazis -, SNG Cop -, VF, rough surfaces, weight 3.623 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, c. 350 - 332 B.C.; obversehead of Aphrodite left, wearing stephane ornamented with circles and palmettes; reverse rose, tendril left; rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
Soloi, Cilicia, c. 100 - 30 B.C.
Soli (or Soloi) was a colony of Rhodes, founded c. 700 B.C. southwest of Tarsus, in Cilicia. It was destroyed in the 1st century B.C., and refounded by Pompey the Great as Pompeiopolis (not to be confused with the Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia).GB57540. Bronze AE 26, cf. SNG BnF 1197, SNG Levante 872, SNG Cop -, aVF, weight 9.225 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cilicia, Olba mint, c. 100 - 30 B.C.; obverseaegis with winged gorgoneion in center; reverse ΣOΛEΩN (below), Aphrodite riding bull right, owl before, monogram above left; rare; $90.00 (€76.50)
Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.
After Apollo insulted him, Eros (cupid) shot Apollo with an arrow that caused him to fall in hopeless love with Daphne, a mortal woman. Eros shot Daphne with an arrow which made her incapable of loving Apollo. Nevertheless Apollo pursued her, and out of desperation Daphne escaped by having herself turned into a laurel. Ever after, winners of the games to honorApollo wore wreaths of laurel in honor of Apollo's Daphne.RB73718. Bronze sestertius, RIC IV SA694, BMCRE VI SA190, Cohen IV 62, SRCV II 8232, VF, excellent portrait, attractive reversestyle, well centered, tiny flan crack, cleaning scratches, weight 13.843 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 224 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEAAVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust right; reverseVENERI FELICI, Venus standing facing, head right, long scepter vertical in right hand, cupid seated facing her in her left hand, cupid is naked, winged and extends his hands toward her, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $90.00 (€76.50)