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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.

Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus II Theos, 261 - 246 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |II| |Theos,| |261| |-| |246| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
Antiochus faced a formidable task holding the empire together. Revolt broke out in Syria almost immediately after his father's death. He earned the title Soter (savior) for victory over hordes of Gauls that attacked Anatolia. Elsewhere, he had little success. He was forced to abandon Macedonia, Thrace, Bithynia, and Cappadocia and to execute his eldest son for rebellion.
GY95973. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 587(4); HGC 9 236g; cf. Newell ESM 188 ff. (various 2nd control monograms); BMC Seleucid p. 9, 18 (2nd monogram ΩΠA), VF/F, well centered, bumps and marks, areas of light corrosion,, weight 16.592 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, 261 - 246 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse Apollo Delphios seated left on omphalos, nude, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on bow grounded behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANT-IOXOY downward on left, XAP monogram (primary control) outer left, monogram (obscure, secondary control) outer right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $9999.00 (€9199.08)
 


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 (€745.20)
 


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); $750.00 (€690.00)
 


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 Pfälzer 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 (€690.00)
 


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 (€414.00)
 


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 Venèra -, 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; $420.00 (€386.40)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, c. 223 - 187 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |III| |the| |Great,| |c.| |223| |-| |187| |B.C.||tetradrachm|NEW
At the age of eighteen, Antiochus III inherited a disorganized state. Much of Anatolia had been lost and the easternmost provinces had revolted and broken away. After some initial defeats, Antiochus took Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt and then conquered Anatolia, earning him the epithet "the Great." In 192 B.C. Antiochus invaded Greece with a 10,000-man army, and was elected the commander in chief of the Aetolian League. In 191 B.C., however, the Romans routed him at Thermopylae, forcing him to withdraw to Anatolia. The Romans followed up by invading Anatolia and defeating him again. By the Treaty of Apamea 188 B.C., Antiochus abandoned all territory north and west of the Taurus, most of which the Roman Republic gave either to Rhodes or to the Attalid ruler Eumenes II, its allies. Many Greek cities were left free. As a consequence of this blow to the Seleucid power, the provinces which had recovered by Antiochus, reasserted their independence. Antiochus mounted a fresh eastern expedition. He died while pillaging a temple of Bel at Elymaïs, Persia, in 187 B.C.
GY95972. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 967 var. (one diadem end upward), Mektepini Hoard 636 var. (same), HGC 9 447g (R2), VF, light bumps/marks, slightest corrosion/porosity, weight 16.983 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 0o, Western Asia Minor, uncertain mint, c. 203 - 187 B.C.; obverse Antiochos' diademed head right, youthful, jutting nose, pursed lips, diadem ends straight down behind head; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, nude, examining arrow in right hand, resting left hand on bow grounded behind, bow ornamented with two sets of two disks, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monograms outer left and right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $400.00 (€368.00)
 


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 (€276.00)
 


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

|Constantine| |the| |Great|, |Constantine| |the| |Great,| |Early| |307| |-| |22| |May| |337| |A.D.||follis|
Although Ares was viewed by the Greeks primarily as destructive and destabilizing, worthy of contempt and revulsion, for the Romans, Mars was a father (pater) of the Roman people. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RL96901. Billon follis, RIC VI Treveri 776, SRCV V 16008, Cohen VII 368, Hunter V -, aVF, green patina, light earthen deposits, scratches, light scrape on obverse, weight 5.801 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 307 - 308 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse MARTI PATRI PROPVGNATORI (to Mars the Defending Father), Mars advancing right, nude but for crested helmet and chlamys over shoulders and flying behind, spear in right hand, shield in left hand, S left, A right, PTR in exergue; $110.00 (€101.20)
 


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; $105.00 (€96.60)
 




  



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