Featured Venus Verticordia

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jochen1, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Dear Friends of ancient mythology!

    Today I want to talk about the mysterious Venus Verticordia.

    The coin:
    Roman Republic, Mn. Cordius Rufus, gens Cordia
    AR - Denarius, 19.5mm, 3.82g
    Rome, 46 B.C.
    Obv.: Conjugate heads of the two Dioscuri, wearing laureate pilei surmounted by
    behind RVFVS II.VIR
    Rev.: Venus Verticordia standing l.., holding in extended r. hand scales and in the left
    hand transverse sceptre; on her left shoulder Cupido
    in right field MN.CORDIVS (MN ligate)
    Ref.: Crawford 463/1a; Sydenham 976; Cordia 2s
    about VF, weak struck on reverse left
    ex Harlan J. Berk
    The home of the gens Cordia, Tusculum, only 12 miles from Rome, was a center of worship of the Dioscuri. The reverse is a clever play on the moneyer's name (CORDIA > CORDIVS) and can also be taken as a compliment to Julius Caesar, whose gens claimed a direct descent from Venus. The particular representation of Venus on the rev. may be derived from a statue erected in the Temple of Venus Genetrix in the year of issue (FAC).

    This coin was issued in a quantity corresponding to Rome's need at the time of Caesar's fourfold triumph, when every legionnaire was paid 5000 and every Centurio 10000 denarii (Sear, The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators, p.45). That's why Venus has a scale in his hand, which is very unusual and more to the Annona's credit!

    Sometimes you can read that Venus Verticordia is the Venus that turns people's hearts to love. In fact, the exact opposite is true!

    Verticordia is the nickname of Venus (Serv. auct. Aen. 1, 720), which had a fanum in the myrtle grove of the Vallis Murcia (ibid. 8, 636) between Palatine Hill and Aventine Hill. During the Hannibalian war (216 BC?) Sulpicia due to the dictum of the Sibyl from Cumae was determined by an heavy examination as pudicissima (Plin. nat. 7, 120. Solin. 1, 126) and a simulacrum was erected by her for Venus, quo facilius virginum mulierumque mens a libidine ad pudicitiam converteretur (i.e. should be turned from lust to shame!) (Val. max. 8, 15, 12).

    Vallis Murcia

    And that had happened: At that time three vestals had violated the law of virginity and had therefore been buried alive. In order to reconcile the gods, the Senate, according to the orders of the Sibylline books, chose hundred matrons from all, and out of these ten by lot, and of these ten, Sulpicia, daughter of Servius Paterculus and wife of Q. Fulvius Flaccus, was the most chaste of all, and therefore she received the order to carry the image of the goddess into the Sepulcrum.

    In 114 because of a prodigium in the shape of a lightning bolt an aedes was built (Plut. mor. 284 ab. Oros. 5. 15, 20). Ovid (Fasti 4, 133ff.) then connects Sibyllinum and temple building with the celebration on April 1, which was dedicated to Verticordia and Fortuna virilis and was carried out by matronae as well as humiliores (= men of low rank) under myrtle crowning in the baths with the purpose of forma, mores, bona fama (i.e. harmony and decency. Ovid (Fasti, book 4, 157-161) writes: At the time of our forefathers Rome had lost its sense of shame and therefore they asked the venerable Sibyl of Cumae for advice. She ordered to build a temple for Venus; and when that was done, the goddess took the name Verticordia.

    Prodigium: In the ancient Roman religion a wonderful sign of divine wrath (which one sought to counter by cultic atonement measures)

    According to Kleiner Pauly, the name Verticordia is only by folk etymology connected to vertere (Ov. ibid. 161 et al.), that means that it has nothing to do with turning.

    (1) Ovid, Fasti
    (2) Plinius, Nat. Hist.
    (3) Kleiner Pauly
    (4) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

    Best regards
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Nice example @Jochen1. Mine is rather worn: MN. CORDIUS RUFUS.jpg
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  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Sometimes I question whether it is necessary to pile on all our examples of the same coin but I do enjoy seeing the differences that make every ancient coin unique. In this case, my coin demonstrates what we get when the strike was not hard enough to force silver into the high points of the reverse center. Less obvious is the matching weakness in the neck hair curls on the obverse. Of the three, my coin has the best heads and feet on the reverse but Jochen's coin is more even and detailed in the center. Bing's coin has more wear which makes it harder to separate loss to wear and loss to strike but I believe his was better struck than mine when it fell from the dies. Note how his coin shows the staff crossing the body of Venus with more separation than mine. Things like this make me feel OK about piling on another image of the same coin. There is something to be learned by those willing to look.
    Sulla80, TheRed, Ryro and 14 others like this.
  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Mine is just wore out...

    RR Cordius Rufus 46 BCE AR Den Jugate Dioscuri Venus scales S 440 Cr 463-1.jpg
    RR Cordius Rufus 46 BCE AR Den Jugate Dioscuri Venus scales S 440 Cr 463-1
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  6. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    obverse, pollux turning a blind eye:)

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  7. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    One of my favorites, I even like the graffiti.


    Mn. Cordius Rufus, silver denarius, Rome, 46 BC

    O: Dioscuri, R: Venus with Cupid at shoulder. 18 mm, 3.6 g
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  8. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Interesting coins all.
    I have a couple of these. I wanted a scale, and my first coin (on left) was weak there. I think the (banker's?) mark is interesting. I do not remember another A. The second coin lopped of Cupid and VV's head, but has a better scale.
    DSCN1893 tna coins and scale rufus.JPG

    I put both in my scale exhibit at the 2018 TNA (they are the undecipherable dots).
    DSCN1822 tna scale.JPG
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  9. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Interesting post as always, Jochen. I have one of those RR Cordia denarii - rather nicer than most of my stuff. I bought it 1990, back when I bought from dealer catalogues, which tended not to carry the junky coins I get nowadays.

    RR Cordia Dioscuri denaruius (0).jpg

    I was wondering, speaking of junky things, I just got this sestertius of Julia Mamaea where Venus is shown holding Cupid. Was she tired of him perched on her shoulders? Is there any connection Venus Felicitas to Venus Verticordia? Just wondering...

    Julia Mamaea - Sest. Venus & Cupid Oct 2019 (0).jpg

    Julia Mamaea Æ Sestertius
    (Mother of Severus Alex.)
    (222-235 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [IVLIA] MAMAEA AVG-[VSTA], draped and diademed bust right / [VENERI] FELICI,
    Venus standing right, holding sceptre & Cupid; S C across.
    RIC 694; BMCRE 190.
    (15.15 grams / 27 mm)
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  10. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Interesting coin. But I don't think that it is Eros hold by Venus. Felicitas includes success, prosperity and fertility. And I think it is the latter that is meant.

    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  11. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Fertility is what I thought too - the figure looks like one of those symbols of fecundity that empresses often had on their coins. But virtually every reference I found for this coin (RIC 694) says Venus is holding Cupid - Wildwinds, OCRE, and numerous auctions:


    Maybe this is incorrect?
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  12. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    I agree Mike, Cupid it is imho.
    Here's mine Sestertius Venus holding Cupid in hand:

    Mike, imho your Cordia denarius deserves a (far) better pic !
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  13. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    One more for the Venus Verticordia pile:
    Mn. Cordius Rufus, circa 46 BC. , AR Denarius, Rome mint
    Obv: RVFVS IIIVIR, Conjoined heads of the Dioscuri right, wearing filleted pilei surmounted by stars
    Rev: MN CORDI downwards (mostly off-flan), Venus Verticordia standing left, holding scales and scepter; Cupid on her shoulder
    Ref: Crawford 463/1b; Sear, CRI 63a; Cordia 1
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  14. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Anther grade A @Jochen1 write up! So glad @Sulla80 brought this back to the front page and shared his amazing and beautifuly toned show stopper!
    Here's my show goer(that needs a reshoot, it actually has some fun toning that I didn't capture):bucktooth::shame:
  15. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

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