There are epigrams in the Palatine Anthology (XVI,211: Statilius Flaccus; XVI,212: Alpheios) that suggest that the “sleeping” Eros is not really asleep, and that humankind will gain no respite from his disturbing influence! In another epigram, sleeping Eros’s torch is now in the hands of the nymphs, who believe that they can extinguish the fire in men’s hearts, but all that they succeed in doing is setting fire to the water, so that in future people will have a hot bath! (IX,627: Marianos Scholastikos).
A Roman votive tablet from near Kyustendil (Pautalia) now in the Archaeological Museum in Sofia shows Ariadne, abandoned by Theseus on Naxos, reclining and with two resting or sleeping Erotes beside her; in the background, figures probably representing Dionysus and Sileni are approaching, with distinctly robust intent. The Erotes will soon be wide awake again...
There is a numismatic version of this scene, though without the Erotes, on a huge medallion of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna in Pergamum (= Gorny & Mosch, auction 114, lot 173, photos courtesy of Lübke & Wiedemann KG) .
See also under Type 45.
The type of Eros asleep was struck in Nicopolis ad Istrum in Moesia and Laodiceia ad Lycum in Phrygia.
6.48 g. Obv. IOYΛIA ΔO[MNA CEBACTH]. Draped bust of Julia Domna r. Rev. NIKOΠOΛEITΩN ΠPOC ICT. Eros asleep l. on a lionskin, in front of him a torch (Photos courtesy of Lübke & Wiedemann KG).
Æ 22, 2 h, 5.42 g. Obv. M AYP KAI ANTΩNEINOC. Draped bust of Caracalla Caesar r. Rev. NIKOΠOΛEITΩN ΠPOC ICT. Similar type.
A similar, hitherto unpublished, reverse type for Commodus in Nicopolis was posted in FORVM’s discussion pages in 2006 (photos from private collections, by permission). Although Eros cannot completely be ruled out, the absence of such obvious attributes as wings makes it more likely that it is Heracles that is shown here.
* Laodiceia ad Lycum in Phrygia, coins of Elagabalus (not illustrated), and interesting coins with the personification of Synedrion Neōn, “the council of young men”, as the obverse type. The CNG cataloguer sees in the sleeping figure on the reverse “Hypnos-Thanatos”, presumably because of the inverted torch and poppy, reclining on rocks beside the river Lethe, and connects the type with the military duties that the young men of the city might be training for. But Imhoof-Blumer has “Eros” (in Kleinasiatische Münzen and in Zur griechischen und römischen Münzkunde), and so does Barclay Head in the BMC catalogue, though “Eros or Hypnos (?)” in the Introduction and “Eros winged or Thanatos, in sleeping attitude” (a peculiar formulation) in Historia Numorum. The poppy indicates sleep, but “Hypnos-Thanatos” seems rather far-fetched.
Æ 25, 7 h, 8.30 g. Obv. CYNEΔPIΩN NEΩN. Draped bust of Synedrion Neōn l., wearing a taenia and with a pair of staves by his shoulder. Uncertain oval countermark, perhaps bust of Severus Alexander r. Rev. ΛAOΔIKEΩN NAΩKOPΩN [sic]. Eros asleep or resting l., his head on his l., which is supported by a pile of rocks; his torch is at his feet, his bow beside him, and in his r. he is holding a poppy.
Similar. Æ 25, 7 h, 5.83 g (Photos courtesy of Roma Numismatics).
References: Pick, AMNG, 1468; Hristova/Jekov 188.8.131.52; Varbanov 2856
References: Pick, AMNG, 1489; Hristova/Jekov 184.108.40.206; Varbanov 2926