Eros appears on Roman provincial coins as an element of many different reverse types—as a single figure or with other Erotes, with his “girlfriend” Psyche, accompanying Aphrodite or other deities, with a favoured animal like a dolphin or lion, or as part of a more complex tableau like the story of Hero and Leander or the so-called Rape of Persephone. In these notes we describe and discuss the different types. For a systematic arrangement of the material, see the Blog Archive.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Type 40: Eros with Aphrodite and Heracles
The next few types show Eros with Heracles. Contrasting Love and Strength was a particularly pleasing conceit, and there is a beautiful cornelian intaglio (c. first century B.C.) in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, showing Eros binding Heracles’s hands behind his back. We have already seen references to the “Love conquers all” theme in Types 06 (where Eros adopts the “Weary Heracles” pose), 16 (Eros sleeping on the captured lionskin of Heracles), 19 (Erotes playing with the club of Heracles), and 22 and 23 (Eros with Heracles’s lion).
The following coin from Pergamum brings together Heracles, Aphrodite, and Eros.
* Pergamum in Mysia, a coin of Lucius Verus (not illustrated), showing Eros and a half-naked Aphrodite attempting to draw a seated Heracles down from his rock.