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View Full Version : I've seen many ancient coins, but this one even surprised me


BeastCoins
Nov 19, 2008, 02:17 PM
When I ran across this one, all I could say was "wow".

http://sixbid.com/nav.php?lot=564&p=viewlot&sid=95

Numismatik Lanz, Auction 144, Lot 564, Ending November 24, 2008

Estimate: 4,000 euros

RÖMISCHE MÜNZEN
KAISERREICH
CARACALLA (197 - 217)
Serdike in Thrakien

Bronze. ΑVΤ Κ Μ ΑV C∍V ΑΝΤΩΝ∍ΙΝΟ. Portraitkopf mit Lorbeerkranz nach rechts. Perlkreis; Rs: C-∍Ρ/ΔΩΝ. Zwei homophile Eroten beim Rektalverkehr nach rechts. Perlkreis. SNG Cop. 801; Winterthur 1258; L. Ruzicka, NZ 48, 1915, 62 Nr. 380. 5,72g. St. 12. Sehr selten und gesucht. Gut zentriert, fast vorzüglich.
"Two playing Erotes, the one walking on his hands" (SNG Cop.). Dezent formuliert; allerdings ist bei dem Ex. in Kopenhagen das Glied nicht erkennbar.

Um, clue phone to Lanz - the only game the two Erotes are playing here is "hide the sausage".

I could see this reverse type for Elagabalus or Hadrian, but Caracalla? Perhaps there is something he's not telling us?......

--Beast

4to2centophilia
Nov 19, 2008, 02:25 PM
I understand that the reverse will be appearing on new US coinage, demonstrating what is happening to the current economy.

BeastCoins
Nov 19, 2008, 02:29 PM
Mark,

Ah yes - I did see that proposed design change for the reverse of the $1 coins, but with the updated iconography showing the taxpayer as the one on the right and Joe Cassano (President of AIG) on the left....

--Beast

GMoneti
Nov 19, 2008, 03:01 PM
Mark,

Ah yes - I did see that proposed design change for the reverse of the $1 coins, but with the updated iconography showing the taxpayer as the one on the right and Joe Cassano (President of AIG) on the left....

--Beast


And of course, the character on the left will change with each upcoming issue.

cogito
Nov 19, 2008, 05:52 PM
One can only hope that the Erotes were able marry...certainly not in California. :p

J

vozmozhno
Nov 19, 2008, 07:42 PM
Those Thracians were a randy bunch--and not at all shy about putting it on their coinage either. To those of us who like to think of the ancients in terms of stoic philosophers and warrior kings (I know I do), Greek pedarasty, the poems of Catullus, and the imagery of Priapus can come as quite a shock to the system.

Voz

curtislclay
Nov 19, 2008, 08:58 PM
Beast,

Lanz's description does not mince words: "Two homosexual Erotes engaging in anal intercourse to the right."

It's the SNG Copenhagen description which has them just playing, to which Lanz remarks, "A discreet formulation. However, the penis is not clear on the Copenhagen specimen."

You do understand, I hope, that this type appears for "artistic" reasons and is no reflection on Caracalla's sexuality?

Curtis

GMoneti
Nov 20, 2008, 12:27 AM
Voz, what makes you think this coin reflects sentiments of the Thracians specifically? By the 3rd century Serdica was a large regional city, firmly in control by the Romans and Greeks. The Thracians weren't the ones calling the shots there anymore by that time. I suspect that coin design and engraving would not be a profession exclusive to the Thracians at that time, even in Serdica.

Curtis, could you please explain what are the "artistic" reasons for this design and possibly what the motif for it is?

vozmozhno
Nov 20, 2008, 12:40 AM
It's my off the cuff impression based on two factors:

1) The history of risque imagery on Thracian coinage. (Perhaps the Greeks/Romans went local--it happened elsewhere).

2) The fact that you don't see much of this on imperial coinage.

Like most of my opinions--I could be wrong on one point, or both!

Voz

Aeratvs
Nov 20, 2008, 12:45 AM
Now we know why they created 'soap-on-a-rope'. :eek:

Pax,

William

GMoneti
Nov 20, 2008, 01:24 AM
Is there an example of Thracian coinage with homosexual motifs? I am not aware of any. This one is officially and culturally Roman/Greek as is the concept of the Erotes, as far as I understand it, I don't know much about it.

I could be wrong as well, but I think coin designs in the Roman period were not influenced by the Thracians in general, even if they still formed a large portion of the local population. By the time of Caracalla the big cities in Thrace, the ones with the mints, were somewhat multicultural. A lot of the designs seem to reflect Greek mythology, and thanks to the cultural exchange between Thracians and Greeks even prior to the Roman invasion, it can be confusing.

BeastCoins
Nov 20, 2008, 08:18 AM
Beast,

Lanz's description does not mince words: "Two homosexual Erotes engaging in anal intercourse to the right."

It's the SNG Copenhagen description which has them just playing, to which Lanz remarks, "A discreet formulation. However, the penis is not clear on the Copenhagen specimen."

You do understand, I hope, that this type appears for "artistic" reasons and is no reflection on Caracalla's sexuality?

Curtis

Thanks Curtis. You know, I really hate not being able to fluently read other languages. That's a good description by Hubert then, which makes since since his firm handles so many coins.

On the Caracalla note - it was my failed attempt at humor. Still, this is a really unusual reverse type and one I've not seen before. I've seen a lot of types with Priapus and many erotic tesserae, but never a reverse type even remotely similar to this example. I understand Provincial coinage had a lot of freedom to express designs which were often specific to their region, but this one is really out there.

--Beast

areich
Apr 8, 2009, 03:51 AM
Here's a similar one where they're "playing wheelbarrow".
It looks a little different from the way I remember it played though. :confused:

http://www.helios-numismatik.de/onlineAuctionDetail.asp?lid=4&nid=269&lager=00014&los=177

http://www.helios-numismatik.de/images/muenzen/00014/00177q00.jpg

Still I'm not sure exactly what they're doing due to the lack of the penis that was very 'prominent' on the coin that started this thread
but I can guess.

Roma_Orbis
Apr 8, 2009, 07:07 AM
I understood from a dealer that the Lanz coin is a fake. It is inspired by the type featured in Helios. While such explicit scenes can be found on engraved gems (seals) or the well-known Tiberian tesserae/tokens, which were restricted to personal usage, their appearance on coinage is very much improbable.

Jérôme

areich
Apr 8, 2009, 09:18 AM
The discussion on the German forum leans in that direction as well.
Without the Lanz piece the Helios coin might very well depict something much more innocent.

Incitatus
Apr 8, 2009, 09:43 AM
I have always thought this particular reverse was a bit suggestive, along the same lines. I'm sure it's not meant to be taken as such though, but...

Steve