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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Love & Beauty||View Options:  |  |  | 

Love & Beauty on Ancient Coins

Venus is the Roman goddess principally associated with love and beauty, the rough equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. The son of Venus and Mars, Cupid to the Romans, Eros to the Greeks, is the god of desire, affection and erotic love.

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|
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|
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)


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

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







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