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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Constantinian Era ▸ Constantine the GreatView Options:  |  |  | 

Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, was the son of Helena and the First Tetrarchic ruler Constantius I. Constantine is most famous for his conversion to Christianity after the battle of the Milvian Bridge where he defeated emperor Maxentius. Before the battle, he saw the words "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) emblazoned on the sun around the Chi Rho, the symbol of Christianity. After placing this Christogram on the shields of his army, he defeated his opponent and thus ruled the empire through divine providence. He also shifted the capital of the empire to Constantinople, establishing the foundation for an Empire that would last another 1000 years. He died in 337 and his sons divided the Roman territories.


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years.
RL85705. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Antioch 81, LRBC I 1347, SRCV IV 16270, Cohen VII 454, Choice gVF, excellent centering and strike, attractive near black patina with red earthen fill highlighting, weight 4.256 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 326 - 327 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, rosette-diademed head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), campgate with two turrets, star above, pellet in doorway, SMANTE in exergue; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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Beginning in 330 A.D., pagan temples were progressively abandoned, destroyed or left to fall into disrepair, except for those that were transformed into Christian churches. In 331 A.D., Constantine confiscated the property and valuables of many pagan temples throughout the Empire.
RL86094. Billon reduced centenionalis, Hunter V 313 (also 1st officina, also annulets on vexilla), RIC VII Constantinople 59, LRBC I 1005, Cohen VII 254, SRCV IV 16354, aVF, excellent centering, corrosion, weight 1.924 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 330 - 333 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laurel and rosette diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA EXERCITVS (glory of the army), two soldiers standing facing, flanking a standard in center, heads confronted, each holds a spear in outer hand and rests inner hand on grounded shield, CONSA in exergue; $15.00 (€12.75)
 


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Jupiter or Jove, Zeus to the Greeks, was the king of the gods and god of the sky and thunder, and of laws and social order. As the patron deity of ancient Rome, he was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad, with his sister and wife Juno. The father of Mars, he is, therefore, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored those in positions of authority similar to his own.
RL85185. Billon follis, RIC VII Siscia 15 (R2), SRCV IV15940, Cohen VII 289 corr. (rev. misdescribed), Hunter V 244 var. (1st officina), Choice EF, well centered, nice green patina, a few tiny spots of corrosion, weight 3.309 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 315 - 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI (to Jupiter the protector), Jupiter standing left, nude but for paludamentum on left shoulder, Victory on globe in right hand presenting wreath, long scepter vertical in left hand, eagle at feet on left facing left with head turned back right and wreath in beak, E right, •SIS• in exergue; scarce; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


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On 3 February 313, Constantine the Great and co-emperor Licinius met at a conference in Mediolanum (modern Milan). They issued the Edict of Milan, which established a policy of religious freedom for all, ending the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
RL85187. Billon follis, RIC VII Siscia 7 (R2), Cohen VII 288, SRCV IV 15940, Hunter V 237 var. (...P F AVG), EF, sharp detail, nice green patina, weight 3.395 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 313 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI (to Jupiter the protector), Jupiter standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys on left shoulder, Victory on globe and offering wreath in right hand, long scepter in left hand, eagle left with head turned back right and wreath in beak at feet to left, A right, SIS in exergue; scarce; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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On 3 February 313, Constantine the Great and co-emperor Licinius met at a conference in Mediolanum (modern Milan). They issued the Edict of Milan, which established a policy of religious freedom for all, ending the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
RT85188. Billon follis, RIC VII Siscia 7 (R3), Cohen VII 288, SRCV IV 15940, Hunter V 241 var. (...P F AVG), Choice EF, excellent centering, sharp detail, green patina, slightest porosity, weight 3.291 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 313 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI (to Jupiter the protector), Jupiter standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys on left shoulder, Victory on globe and offering wreath in right hand, long scepter in left hand, eagle left with head turned back right and wreath in beak at feet to left, Γ right, SIS in exergue; scarce; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


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On 1 March 317, Constantine and Licinius elevated their sons Crispus, Constantine II (still a baby) and Licinius II to Caesars. After this arrangement, Constantine ruled the dioceses Pannonia and Macedonia, and established his residence at Sirmium, from where he prepared a campaign against the Goths and Sarmatians.
RT85190. Billon follis, Hunter V 276 (also 5th officina), RIC VII Thessalonica 19 (R1), SRCV IV 15942, Cohen VII 290 corr. (rev. misdescribed), Choice EF, well centered, green patina, some reverse die wear, tiny spots of corrosion, weight 3.460 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 317 - 318 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse IOVI CONS-ERVATORI (to Jupiter the protector), Jupiter standing left, nude but for paludamentum on left shoulder, Victory on globe in right hand presenting wreath, long scepter vertical in left hand, eagle at feet on left facing left with head turned back right and wreath in beak, •TS•E• in exergue; scarce; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


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On 8 October 314, at the Battle of Cibalae, Constantine defeated Licinius near Colonia Aurelia Cibalae (modern Vinkovci, Croatia). Licinius was forced to flee to Sirmium and lost all of the Balkans except for Thrace. The two Augusti initiated peace negotiations, but they failed and they would not make peace until 1 March 317.
RL85191. Billon follis, RIC VII Ticinum 21 (R1), SRCV IV 16087, Cohen VII 536, cf. Hunter V 139 (TT•, 314 A.D.), Choice EF, nice portrait and reverse style, green patina, weight 3.279 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVI-C-TO COMITI, Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, celestial globe in left hand, star in left field, T•T in exergue; rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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In 327, in order to resolve a labor shortage, Constantine the Great decreed that rural slaves could only be sold in the province where they reside.
RL85514. Billon centenionalis, cf. RIC VII Heraclea 90, aF, tight flan, rough, corrosion, weight 2.480 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 135o, Heraclea(?) mint, c. 327 - 329 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, diademed head right; reverse D N CONSTANTINI MAX AVG, VOT / XXX in two lines with wreath, SMH[...]? in exergue; $12.00 (€10.20)
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae Laetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."
RL85518. Billon centenionalis, cf. RIC VII Trier 209 (R1), SRCV IV 16297, Cohen VII 640, Hunter V -, aF, well centered, rough, corrosion, weight 2.821 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri(?) mint, 318 - 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (joyous eternal victories of the prince), two Victories holding shield inscribed VOT / P R over altar, STR in exergue; $12.00 (€10.20)
 


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Manus Dei, the hand of God, reaches down to take Constantine up to heaven.
BB85507. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Heraclea 14 (S), LRBC II 943, SRCV V 17483, Voetter 46, Cohen VII 760, F, small flan, rough, edge crack, weight 0.998 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 135o, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, posthumous, 9 Sep 337 - Apr 340 A.D.; obverse DV CONSTANTINVS PT AVGG, veiled bust right; reverse Constantine in a quadriga right, veiled, the hand of God reaches down to take him to heaven, star above, SMH[A?] in exergue; very scarce; $12.00 (€10.20)
 










OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
CONSTANTINVSAG
CONSTANTINVSAVG
CONSTANTINVSFILAVGG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSNC
CONSTANTINVSNOBC
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
CONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSFILAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
IMPCONSTANTINVSAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCONSTNTINVSMAXAVG


REFERENCES

Bastien, P. Le Monnayage de l'Atelier de Lyon, De la Réforme Monétaire de Dioclétien à la fermeture temporaire de l'Atelier en 316 (294 - 316). Numismatique Romaine XI. (Wetteren, 1980).
Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier en 318 à la mort de Constantin (318 - 337). Numismatique Romaine XIII. (Wetteren, 1982).
Bruun, P. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VII, Constantine and Licinius A.D. 313 - 337. (London, 1966).
Carson, R., P. Hill & J. Kent. Late Roman Bronze Coinage. (London, 1960).
Carson, R., H. Sutherland & J. Kent. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VIII, The Family of Constantine I, A.D. 337 - 364. (London, 1981).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 7: Carausius to Constantine & sons. (Paris, 1888).
Depeyrot, G. Les émissions monétaires d'Arles (4th -5th Siècles). Moneta 6. (Wetteren, 1996).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Dioclétien a Constantin I (284 - 337). (Wetteren, 1995).
Failmezger, V. Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity, 294 - 364 A.D. (Washington D.C., 2002).
King, C. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Milchev, S. The Coins of Constantine the Great. (Sophia, 2007).
Paolucci, R. & A. Zub. La monetazione di Aquileia Romana. (Padova, 2000).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. V. Diocletian (Reform) to Zeno. (Oxford, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine...Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 2011).
Speck, R. & S. Huston. Constantine's Dafne Coinage at Constantinople. (San Francisco, 1992).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
Voetter, O. Die Münzen der romischen Kaiser, Kaiserinnen und Caesaren von Diocletianus bis Romulus: Katalog der Sammlung Paul Gerin. (Vienna, 1921).

Catalog current as of Sunday, October 22, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Constantine the Great