The Abraham Cowley
Text and Image Archive

First Things

Julia Soaemias, mother of Elagabalus, AR denarius, RIC 243 (218-22 AD)
Obv.: Julia head r., IVLIA SOAEMIAS AVG
Rev.: Sceptered Venus-Astarte enthroned l. holding apple out to child before, VENVS CAELESTIS
The crypto-cosmogonic scene on the reverse of this coin (cf. the beginning of Cowley's own "Hymn. To light") may have furnished a visual template for a remarkable mural by Renaissance Italian Jacopo Zucchi illustrating the world's origin according to the apocryphal Protocosmus of Pronapi[de]s, alleged source for Boccaccio's Genealogia Deorum 1.3; on the mural see Philippe Morel, "Chaos et Démogorgon: une peinture énigmatique de Jacopo Zucchi au Palazzo Firenze [Rome]," Revue de l'art, 88 (1990), 64-69, and La Villa Médicis, ed. A. Chastel and P. Morel, 3 vols. (1989-91), esp. 3.24-32.

Return to Index