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511540. SOLD $125

Salonina. Augusta, AD 254-268. AR Antoninianus (21.5mm, 5.43 g, 1hh). Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne) mint. 1st emission, AD 257-258. Diademed and draped bust right, crescent behind / Venus Victrix standing left, holding apple and palm and resting left arm on shield. Cf. RIC V 68; MIR 36, 899c; Cunetio 734; Stevenage 499. Lightly toned. Near EF.

Ex N. M. McQ. Holmes Collection (Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 442, 17 April 2019), lot 308b, purchased from C. J. Martin (Coins) Ltd., 1984.

Julia Cornelia Salonina, also known as Chrysogone ("begotten of gold"), was of Greek heritage and married Gallienus at an early age. She and Gallienus had at least three sons, including the Caesars Valerian II and Saloninus, both of whom perished in their early teens, and a third, Marinianus, whose fate is unknown. She was a learned woman, a devotee of the Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus. Her patronage helped bring about the so-called Gallienic Renaissance in the arts during the tumultuous middle years of the third century AD. A strong tradition also credits her with favoring Christianity, although it is highly unlikely that she was herself a convert. Her fate following the assassination of Gallienus in AD 268 is unknown. Her coinage favors the traditional Roman pantheon.

Though widely known as the sultry goddess of love,Venus also possessed a strong military aspect, manifesting in her militant guise as Venus Victrix, bringer of victory. This goes back at least to her association with the dictator Sulla in the 80s BC. Julius Caesar claimed descent from Venus through his ancestor Iulus, the product of Aeneas’s liaison with the goddess. Caesar built a shrine to Venus Victrix on Capitoline Hill and her public holidays were August 12 and October 9.