As with many ancient coins, there is some debate about who is represented on the face of this coin issued in a part of Greece controlled by Marc Antony in the mid-30s BC during the Second Triumverate. Some believe the image of Aphrodite on the front is in the image of Cleopatra, Antony's lover, mother of his children and co-leader of his combined Roman and Egyptian armies and navies at the fateful battle of Actium.
The coin coin depicts the Greek goddess of love, beauty and procreation. It is believed to have been issued by Marc Antony and Cleopatra to pay their legions.
The choice of Aphrodite for the coin would have been appropriate for a queen whose rise to power within a Roman man's world began while she was in exile fighting for her survival in Cyprus. This same island that launched Cleopatra onto the world stage also housed one of the two principal cult sites dedicated to Aphrodite and was believed by the Greeks to have been the birth site of the goddess.
It is not hard to believe that the image was intended to honor the great queen who was worshiped as a goddess within her native Egypt. Most often she was portrayed as the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was worshiped as the ideal mother and wife, and goddess of children.
A remarkable woman by any account, Cleopatra was the last of the Greek Ptolemy dynasty that ruled Egypt for 300 years. She ruled the wealthiest empire in the Western world with the most advanced arts, the most impressive cities, and the most luxurious lifestyles for its ruling class.
She was also among the best educated rulers of her time, benefiting from being raised in a culture where women had more access to education than did their Roman counterparts. She could speak fluently in many languages and was the first Ptolemy able to speak to her Egyptian subjects in their native tongue.
Cleopatra was at the height of her power when this coin was issued. With Marc Antony at her side, she had been proclaimed Queen of Kings and Queen of Egypt, an empire that included Egypt and much of the Levant and Greece. Her son Caesarion had been proclaimed by Antony to be the legitimate son and rightful heir of Julius Caesar.
Would you like Marc Antony to send you a picture of Cleopatra, his co-ruler, lover and mother to his children? You can get this selfie and selfies from other ancient rulers by purchasing Ancient Selfies - History Revealed Through the World's First Social Media: Ancient Coins. Get the book in eBook or paper at Amazon.com or check out the book web site at at http://www.ancientselfies.com/.
Details: Achaea, Patrae. Mid-30s BC. Silver hemidrachm. Obverse: Head of Aphrodite right wearing stephane, resembling Cleopatra? Reverse DA/MACIAC and monogram within wreath. 16 mm. 2.32 grams. References: BCD 525; SNG Copenhagen 154.
Image and content copyright Clinton Richardson. Get Ancient Selfies in eBook or paper at Amazon.com or check out the Ancient Selfies web site at at http://www.ancientselfies.com/.
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Clinton Richardson, has been writing and photographing for decades. His acclaimed venture strategy series is now in its 5th edition. His Ancient Selfies is an International Book Awards Finalist and an eLit Award Gold Medal Winner. Many of his images can be seen online at TrekPic.com.