The Abraham Cowley
Text and Image Archive

Earth the Planter / Four Seasons' Fecundity

Hadrian, AR denarius, RIC 276 (134-38 AD).
Obv.: Hadrian laureate head r., HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P
Rev.: Earth as a peasant-woman, one breast bared, with plow and rake, two wheat-ears behind, TELLVS STABIL

Caracalla, AR denarius, RIC 153 (198-217 AD; struck 206-10 AD).
Obv.: Caracalla laureate head r., ANTONINVS PIVS AVG
Rev.: The four seasons as active boys, FELICIA TEMPORA (lit., "Happy Times"), Spring with basket of flowers on his head, Summer with a sickle, Fall with rabbit or kid by the forelegs and plate of fruit, and Winter in hood with a hare or a capon and bird on a stick

Julia Domna, AR denarius, RIC 549 (193-211 AD; struck 207 AD). Obv.: Julia Domna head r., IVLIA AVGVSTA
Earth reclining with starred globe and a basket beneath grapevine with children, FECVNDITAS
A medallion of Commodus minted ca. 183 AD joins the Hadrian coin's reverse legend ("Earth Settled") with the the present allegory of fruitfulness; see J.P.C. Kent, Roman Coins [London, 1978], no. 359. The coin-type later serves as a model for one Renaissance Four-Seasons genre-scene; see Ilse O'Dell-Franke, Kupferstiche und Radierungen aus der Werkstatt des Virgil Solis (Wiesbaden, 1977), e1 ("Die 4 Zeit des Jars").
Related Links:
Flora in the Garden / The Lord of the Harvest / The Gardener as Orpheus
Bochum Archive of Mannerist Artistic Schemas, including the Four-Seasons Genre-scheme
Pageant of the Four Continents / Art, Nature, and Wonder // Ripa's Iconologia and Other Emblem Links

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