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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Personifications| ▸ |Fertility||View Options:  |  |  | 

Women's Fertility (Hera, Fecunditas, and other Fertility Goddesses)

Many ancient gods and godesses were associated with women's fertility. For the Greeks, Hera was associated with women's fertility and childbirth, but Artemis was responsible for women's health and thus also fertility. The Egyptian frog-goddess Heget was a fertility goddess, but Isis and many others Egyptian gods and goddesses had fertility roles. Fecunditas, the Roman goddess of fertility, is often depicted on coins of the empresses. See Wikipedia for a list of fertility deities - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fertility_deities

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|
Fecunditas (Latin: "fecundity, fertility") was the goddess of fertility. She was portrayed as a matron, sometimes holding a cornucopia or a hasta pura, with children in her arms or standing next to her.
RS94690. Silver denarius, RSC III 6, RIC IV 332, BMCRE VI 913, SRCV II 8208, Hunter III -, gVF, dark as-found hoard toning, excellent portrait, flow lines, tight flan, some light corrosion, small edge cracks, weight 1.334 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 232 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, with looped plait at the back of neck; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas enthroned left, reaching out with her right hand to small boy standing before her nude with hands raised, left arm on chair; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $120.00 (98.40)


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 377 - 326 B.C.

|Lesbos|, |Mytilene,| |Lesbos,| |c.| |377| |-| |326| |B.C.||hekte|
Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance."
SH81271. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 95, SNGvA 1717, gVF, weight 2.542 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 377 - 326 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse head of Artemis right, hair in sphendone, within linear square; SOLD


Pertinax, 31 December 192 - 28 March 193 A.D.

|Pertinax|, |Pertinax,| |31| |December| |192| |-| |28| |March| |193| |A.D.||denarius|
Pertinax was the son of a humble charcoal-burner. After a successful career in the military, as a senator and then as praefect of the city of Rome, he reluctantly accepted the throne offered by the murderers of Commodus. After a reign of only 86 day he was murdered by mutinous guards.

Opis was the wife of Saturn, and also his sister and the daughter of Caelus. Her children were Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres, and Vesta. When Saturn learned of a prophecy that his and Opis' children would overthrow him as leader, he ate his children one by one after they were born. Opis, being the loving mother that she was, could not just stand by and let the last of her children be eaten by her husband. So, she wrapped a rock in swaddling clothes, and fed that to Saturn instead of Jupiter. Opis then went on to raise Jupiter, and then helped him free his siblings from their father's stomach.
SH82706. Silver denarius, Bickford-Smith p. 54; cf. RSC III 33a; RIC IV 8a (R2); BMCRE V p. 4, 19 (Rome); Hunter III 6; SRCV II 6045 (all but Bickford-Smith, Rome mint), F, nice portrait, porous, legends weak, tight irregular flan, weight 2.508 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, 1 Jan - 28 Mar 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN AVG, laureate head right; reverse OPI DIVIN TR P COS II, Ops (plenty) seated left on throne with ornamented back, two stalks of grain in right hand, leaning back on left hand resting on the edge of the seat behind; very rare; SOLD


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

|Roman| |Thrace| |&| |Black| |Sea|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum,| |Moesia| |Inferior||AE| |28|
Priapus or Priapos was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his absurdly oversized permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia. Statues of Priapus were sometimes placed on boundaries and hung with signs which threatened sexual assault on trespassers.
SH65154. Bronze AE 28, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.17.17.2 (R9), AMNG I/I 1457, Varbanov I 2889 (R7), SNG Cop -, aF, weight 12.029 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 270o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Aurelius Gallus, 201 - 203 A.D.; obverse IVΛIA ∆OMNA CEBA, draped bust right; reverse YΠ AYP ΓAΛΛOY NIKOΠOΛITΩNOC, ΠPOC ICTPOC, Priapus standing front, bearded, wearing long garment and boots, holding open drapery to expose his large phallus, basket of fruits at feet on left, grain and flowers at feet on right; very rare; SOLD


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

|Julia| |Domna|, |Julia| |Domna,| |Augusta,| |194| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.||denarius|
Although many coin references classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RS89455. Silver denarius, RIC IV S534 (S); RSC III 42; BMCRE V p. 27, W46; SRCV II 6580; Hunter III -, VF/F, excellent portrait, toned, flaw on reverse, small edge cracks, weight 2.934 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 195 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, large chignon at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS (fertility), Fecunditas seated right on throne, holding child in her arms, another child at her feet on right, standing left; very rare; SOLD


Mytilene, Lesbos, 3rd - 2nd Century B.C.

|Lesbos|, |Mytilene,| |Lesbos,| |3rd| |-| |2nd| |Century| |B.C.||AE| |15|
Mytilene's most famous citizens were the poets Sappho and Alcaeus and the statesman Pittacus (one of the Seven Sages of ancient Greece). Aristotle lived on Mytilene for two years, 337-335 B.C., with his friend and successor, Theophrastus (a native of the island), after becoming the tutor to Alexander, son of King Philip II of Macedon. In 56 A.D., Paul the Apostle stopped at Mytilene on the return trip of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:14).
GB83421. Bronze AE 15, BMC Troas p. 189, 55 - 57; SNG Cop -, aVF, weight 2.067 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, obverse diademed and draped bust of Artemis right; reverse M-Y/T-I, lyre, tripod left, monogram right; SOLD


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.||as|
Although many coin references classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RB73634. Copper as, RIC IV SA669, BMCRE VI 924, Cohen IV 9, SRCV II 8241, Hunter III -, aVF, green patina, light roughness, weight 9.921 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, 15th emission, c. 232 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, with looped plait at the back of neck; reverse FECVNDITAS AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas standing left, extending right hand over child standing before her with arms raised, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking very low in field; ex CNG e-auction 243 (27 Oct 2010), lot 385; ex J.S. Wagner Collection; SOLD







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