Roman Imperial coin, bronze, AE follis. Struck during the reign of Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus Augustus (Galerius) as Augustus of the East, in honor of Galeria Valeria during her lifetime, 305-311 C.E. The head of Galeria Valeria wears a diadem and an imperial mantle faces right in profile, on obverse with the inscriptions "GAL VALERIA AVG" left and right of image. On reverse, the standing figure of Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and desire, faces left and holds an apple in her right hand and raises drapery over her shoulder with her left with the inscriptions "VENERI VICTRICI" left and right of image, "(dot)" over "(delta)" in the right field, and "SM TS" in the exergum. Reverse inscriptions based on Sear reference; slight oxidation on right inscriptions and exergum inscriptions faded and difficult to decipher.
Date range: 305-311 C.E.
Remarks: Galeria Valeria was the daughter of Diocletian and the second wife of Galerius; she married the latter in order to strengthen the bonds between the Augustus and Caesar. Venus' many functions in Roman cult and myth can be identified by numerous epithets she was given that refer to different aspects or roles of the goddess. Venus Victrix, or Venus the Victorious, was a Romanised aspect of the armed Aphrodite that Greeks had inherited from the East, where the goddess Ishtar "remained a goddess of war, and Venus could bring victory to a Sulla or a Caesar" (Burkert, 1972). Galerius' coins as Augustus were minted in London, Treveri, Lugdunum, Ticinum, Aquileia, Rome, Carthage, Siscia, Serdica, Thessalonica, Heraclea, Nicomedia, Cyzicus, Antioch, and Alexandria.
Reference: David Sear, "Roman Coins and Their Values", (Vol IV, 2011), #14592, pg 305; Walter Burkert, in Homo Necans (1972) 1983:80, noting C. Koch on "Venus Victrix" in Realencyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, 8 A860-64.
|Credit line||Gift of Arthur G. and Roswitha Haas|