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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Nude or Erotic||View 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.

Aspendos, Pamphylia, 333 - 250 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |333| |-| |250| |B.C.||stater|
After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.

This type is a late example and likely among the last of the wrestler and slinger staters. Struck during economic crisis, perhaps resulting from the harsh terms set by Alexander after their treachery, the flans are underweight, crudely cast and appear to be of debased silver. The wrestlers and slinger are carelessly depicted. It is not as attractive as earlier examples but it is certainly much scarcer.
GS95992. Silver stater, Tekin Series 5, SNGvA 4576, SNG BnF 122, SNG Cop 240, Arslan-Lightfoot -, Choice gVF, attractive style, toned, obverse edge beveled, edge cracks, weight 10.440 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 333 - 250 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers grappling, nude, wrestler on left holds the right wrist of his opponent with his right hand and right forearm with his left hand, E between their legs, tiny die break on right, beveled edge; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, EΣTFE∆IY upward behind, O between legs, clockwise triskeles of human legs above club on right, round border of dots; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $810.00 SALE |PRICE| $729.00


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|
The BΛ is among the rarest control marks on Aspendos staters of this type.
GS97487. Silver stater, SNG Pflzer IV 5, Tekin Series 4, Arslan-Lightfoot -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Berry -, VF, die wear, flow lines, tight flan cutting off slinger's feet, porosity, light marks and scratches, weight 10.532 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, BΛ between their legs; reverse slinger discharging sling to right, wearing short chiton, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, triskeles on right with feet clockwise; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 152; very rare variant; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |370| |-| |333| |B.C.||stater|
The countermark appears to be a Hoplite advancing right with sword in right and round shield in left, in oval incuse. The hoplite represents the soldiery for which Aspendus was famous. The astonishing abundance of the silver money of Aspendus is a proof of the commercial importance of the town; and the number of countermarks and barbarous imitations shows that it circulated widely in the region.22.6
SH95389. Silver stater, Arslan-Lightfoot 39; SNGvA 4561; Tekin Series 4, 11; SNG BnF 84; SNG Cop 231; SNG Berry 1224 (all same obv die), VF, attractive rainbow toning, typical slightly flat strike, weight 10.855 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 370 - 333 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AK between their legs; reverse slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, countermark lower right: lion head right in a round 3.6mm punch; ex Forum (2011); $670.00 SALE |PRICE| $603.00


Aspendos, Pamphylia, 380 - 325 B.C.

|Aspendos|, |Aspendos,| |Pamphylia,| |380| |-| |325| |B.C.||stater|
Aspendos has the best-preserved theater of antiquity, with seating for 7,000. It was built in 155, during the rule of Marcus Aurelius, by the Greek architect Zenon, a native of the city. The Seljuqs used it as a caravansary and in the 13th century converted the stage building into a palace. Until recently the theater was still used for concerts, festivals and events, but shows are no longer allowed due to damage caused by modern theatrical equipment. A new facility has been constructed nearby to continue the tradition of open air theater in Aspendos.
GS97488. Silver stater, Tekin Series 4; SNG Cop 230; SNGvA 4567; SNG BnF 86; BMC Lycia p. 97, 30; Arslan-Lightfoot -, aVF, struck with worn dies, die breaks on obverse, some porosity, light marks and scratches, tiny edge splits, weight 10.484 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 380 - 325 B.C.; obverse two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, AΣ (Σ appears as a slightly wavy vertical line) between their legs; reverse slinger discharging sling to right, wearing short chiton, EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ upward on left, triskeles on right with feet clockwise, all in a square dot border; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 153; $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00


Numerian, February or March 283 - October or November 284 A.D.

|Numerian|, |Numerian,| |February| |or| |March| |283| |-| |October| |or| |November| |284| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Consular busts are scarce for this dynasty.
RA93244. Billon antoninianus, Bastien 562 (3 spec. cited), RIC V-2 -, Cohen VI -, SRCV III -, Hunter V -, La Venra -, Choice aVF, well centered, flow lines, tiny encrustations, scattered light porosity, weight 3.080 g, maximum diameter 22.85 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 6th emission, c. 284 A.D.; obverse IMP C NVMERIANVS AVG, radiate bust wearing imperial mantle right, eagle-tipped scepter in right hand; reverse MARS VICTOR (Mars the Victor), Mars advancing right, nude except for helmet and cloak tied in belt at waist and flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy over left shoulder in left hand, C in right field; very rare; $370.00 SALE |PRICE| $333.00


Roman Macedonia, "Thasian" Type, c. 148 - 80 B.C.

|Roman| |Macedonia|, |Roman| |Macedonia,| |"Thasian"| |Type,| |c.| |148| |-| |80| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
This Dionysos / Herakles type was first struck by Thasos itself on the island and in its continental territories in the South of the Balkans, c. 168 - 148 B.C. After Rome took control of the area, "Thasian" types were struck by Roman authorities, c. 148 - 80 B.C., mainly in Macedonia but also, perhaps, by mobile military mints on campaigns. Imitatives were also struck by at least several tribal groups (mainly Celtic or mixed enclaves) from as early as 120 - 100 B.C. to about 20 - 10 B.C.
GS95927. Silver tetradrachm, Prokopov Thasos, group XII, monogram 6, 759 var. (O AE1 / R 603); Lanz (Kostial) 963 - 967; SNG Cop 1040 ff., Choice VF, toned, light graffito (AP?) obverse right, bumps and marks, edge crack, weight 16.835 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Roman provincial or military mint, c. 148 - 80 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing taenia and wreathed in flowering ivy; reverse HPAKΛEOYΣ ΣΩTHPOΣ ΘAΣIΩN, Herakles standing half left, nude but for Nemean lion's skin on left arm, resting right hand on grounded club before him, left hand on hip, (MH monogram) inner left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $300.00 SALE |PRICE| $270.00


Kaunos, Caria, c. 197 - 191 B.C. (or Later 2nd Century)

|Kaunos|, |Kaunos,| |Caria,| |c.| |197| |-| |191| |B.C.| |(or| |Later| |2nd| |Century)||AE| |16|
On the Rosetta Stone, "The Memphis Decree" announces Ptolemy V's rule and ascension to godhood, and describes him as "like Horus." In "A Statue of a Hellenistic King," Journal of Hellenistic Studies, 33 (1913), C. Edgar attributes a statue very similar to the reverse figure to Ptolemy V: "[The statue] stands with right foot drawn back, the toes alone resting on the ground...His head is held erect and his gaze is turned slightly to his right. His shoulders are drawn up a little...[the upper part] unnaturally short in proportion to the lower part of the trunk...[The missing right] forearm was clear of the body. The [missing] left hand was raised and probably rested on a spear." We believe this type is from the among the last issues of Kaunos under Ptolemaic rule, struck after the 13 year old Ptolemy V came of age in 197/6 B.C., perhaps to commemorate his accession, and before he sold the city to the Rhodians for 200 talents of silver in 191 B.C.
GB87087. Bronze AE 16, SNGvA 8103; Lindgren III 425; Imhoof-Blumer KM I, p. 138, 1; BMC Caria -; SNG Cop -; SNG Keckman -; SNG Munchen -, VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, a little porous/rough, tiny edge crack, weight 2.166 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kaunos (Dalyan, Turkey) mint, c. 197 - 191 B.C. (or later 2nd century); obverse diademed and horned head of Alexander the Great right; reverse youth (Ptolemy V as Horus?) advancing right, nude, long lotus-tipped scepter transverse in left hand, right arm and index finger extended, snake before him coiled around scepter, K-AY (Kaunos) divided high across field, ΣΩ-TAΣ (magistrate) divided across center; very rare; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.

|Maximinus| |II|, |Maximinus| |II| |Daia,| |Late| |309| |-| |30| |April| |313| |A.D.||follis|
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO AVGVSTI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Augusti, the Emperors. The figure depicted is the statue of the Spirit of the Roman People which was then in the Roman Forum (it is now lost). The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted.
RT93355. Billon follis, RIC VI Alexandria 152b, SRCV IV 14841, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V -, gVF, dark brown patina, flow lines, porosity, slightly off center, reverse die wear, tiny edge crack, weight 5.116 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Alexandria mint, 312 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genio standing facing, head left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, head of Serapis in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, crescent upper left, X in left field, B in right field, ALE in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

|Nikopolis|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum,| |Moesia| |Inferior||assarion|
The figure on the reverse is most often identified as Eros (Cupid) or a generic winged Genius. The inverted torch represents a life extinguished, indicating the figure is Thanatos (death). By the Severan Era, there was increased hope for an afterlife in pleasant Elysium rather than in dismal Hades. Thanatos was associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise. Thanatos as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid, with crossed legs and an inverted torch, became the most common symbol for death, depicted on many Roman sarcophagi.
RP97238. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.16.16 (R3), Moushmov 926, AMNG I/I 1367 (R3) var. (leg.), Varbanov I 2481 (R3) var. (obv. leg., bust), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, F, rough, edge ragged, part of reverse legend not struck, weight 3.040 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 30o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV KAI CEVHP, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, winged Thanatos standing right, legs crossed legs, leaning on reversed torch on right set on low base; scarce; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

|Gallienus|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.||antoninianus|
The name Ultor was given to Jove because he was believed to be the avenger of wicked men's impieties.
RA94175. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 348e, RIC V-1 S221, RSC IV 402, Hunter IV S12, SRCV III 10247 var. (obv. leg.), VF, centered on a tight flan cutting off part of legends, some silvering, weight 3.394 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, 260 - 261 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse IOVI VLTORI (to Jupiter the avenger), Jupiter advancing left, head turned back right, nude but for cloak billowing out behind, brandishing thunderbolt in raised right hand, S in left field; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00




  



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