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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 Soaemias, Augusta 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

|Julia| |Soaemias|, |Julia| |Soaemias,| |Augusta| |16| |May| |218| |-| |11| |March| |222| |A.D.||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.
RS111520. Silver denarius, RIC IV 243, RSC III 14, BMCRE V 56, Hunter V 7, SRCV II 7720, Choice gVF, well centered, light tone, luster in recesses, flow lines, weight 2.963 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 A.D.; obverse IVLIA SOAEMIAS AVG, draped bust right; reverse VENVS CAELESTIS (heavenly Venus), Venus diademed seated left on throne, apple in right hand, scepter in left hand, child at her feet raising arms; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 124 (8 Jan 2023), lot 881 (part of); $195.00 SALE PRICE $176.00


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

|Caracalla|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Sulla, in a dream, was the first to see Venus as Venus Victrix (victorious Venus) with the weapons of Mars. He made her his patroness. Pompey inaugurated the cult of Venus Victrix in Rome. The night before the battle of Pharsalus 48 B.C. Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix, seemingly a lucky sign. That night Caesar sacrificed to Venus Genetrix, but issued Venus Victrix as the watch word. Caesar was victorious in the battle!
RS111542. Silver denarius, RIC IV 312d (S); RSC III 613; BMCRE V p. 446, 87; Hunter III p. 88, 58; SRCV II 6891, Choice gVF, well centered bold strike, excellent mature portrait, weight 2.576 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, end 213 - 217 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate and bearded head right; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing slightly left, head left, crested helmet in right hand, long scepter in left hand, resting left arm on shield, flanked by a captive at feet on each side seated facing outward; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 124 (8 Jan 2023), lot 945 (part of); scarce; $170.00 SALE PRICE $153.00


Salonina, Augusta 254 - c. September 268 A.D.

|Salonina|, |Salonina,| |Augusta| |254| |-| |c.| |September| |268| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Sulla in a dream first saw Venus with the weapons of Mars as Venus Victrix and made her his personal patroness. In the night before the battle of Pharsalus 48 B.C. Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix - seemingly a lucky sign. Caesar sacrificed to Venus Genetrix, but issued as watchword 'Venus Victrix', and defeated Pompey!
RA112452. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1368o, RIC V-1 67, RSC 127a, Cunetio 1786 (21 spec.), SRCV III 10659, Hunter IV - (p. lxxiii), EF, toned surfaces, centered on a tight flan, tiny edge split, weight 1.979 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, end officina, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, c. 265 - 267 A.D.; obverse SALONINA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in ridges and in plait looped below ear up the back of head, crescent behind shoulders; reverse VENVS VICT, Venus standing left, helmet in right, transverse spear in left, shield at side behind her, MS in exergue; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH45450. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC I Julius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, Choice gVF, magnificent portrait, weight 3.660 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, long scepter in left hand, shield at feet right; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C., P Sepullius Macer

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.,| |P| |Sepullius| |Macer||denarius|
"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH28916. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC I Julius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, gVF, weight 3.865 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, long scepter in left hand, shield at feet right; superb portrait, toned, excellent centering and strike for the type; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
"The coin that killed Caesar." This coin declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life." He did serve as Dictator for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this issue. For Caesar to put his image on coins and essentially declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. This coin (along with other similar types) is sometimes called "the coin that killed Caesar." Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure..
SH54919. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1413, Sydenham 1072, Crawford 480/10, RSC I 38, gVF, nice portrait, typical uneven strike, weight 3.583 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, shield at feet right; SOLD


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII & Alexander Helios, c. 38 B.C.

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |&| |Alexander| |Helios,| |c.| |38| |B.C.||diobol|
Alexander Helios (b. 40 B.C., d. between 29 and 25 B.C.) was the son of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony. Helios (the Sun) had a twin sister, Cleopatra Selene (the Moon). He was made king of Armenia and king of king of Media and Parthia at about age six. After his mother's death, Egypt and his kingdoms were annexed by Rome; Alexander Helios was placed under the guardianship of Octavia and faded from history.
The exact denominations of this type and the other bronze units issued during Cleopatra's reign are unknown. Based on the bronze Egyptian denominations of Augustus used not long after this coin was struck, this coin was a diobol.
SH16527. Bronze diobol, SGCV II 7957, BMC Ptolemies 2-3, RPC I 3091, Vagi 76, aVF, among the finest known, weight 13.127 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, c. 38 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra VII right, as Aphrodite, holding scepter and infant; reverse KΛΕOΠATPAΣ BAΣIΛIΣΣHΣ, double cornucopia, joined at the bottom and bound with fillet, KYΠP monogram in lower right field; nice brown patina, among the finest known of this rare issue; rare; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

"The coin that killed Caesar." This coin declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life." He did serve as Dictator for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this issue. For Caesar to put his image on coins and essentially declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. This coin (along with other similar types) is sometimes called "the coin that killed Caesar." Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH50025. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC I Julius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, gVF, weight 4.103 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, long scepter in left hand, shield at feet right; banker's mark on Caesar's nose, a little carelessly struck with some flatness, tiny chip in border near DICT; ex Colosseum Coin Exchange, Auction 119, 5 Feb 2002 (copy of catalog included); SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH84607. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC I Julius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, gVF, nice portrait, toned, scratches, off center, edge cracks, weight 3.830 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, long scepter in left hand, shield at feet right; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
"The coin that killed Caesar." This coin declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life." He did serve as Dictator for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this issue. For Caesar to put his image on coins and essentially declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. This coin (along with other similar types) is sometimes called "the coin that killed Caesar." Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH54776. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/10, Sydenham 1073, Sear CRI 107a, RSC I Julius Caesar 38, BMCRR I Rome 4169, gVF, toned, banker's mark, weight 3.971 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right, banker's mark on cheek; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, shield leaning against scepter; from the Sierra Collection, nice clear legend; SOLD







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