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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Crisis and DeclineView Options:  |  |  | 

Roman Coins of the 3rd Century Crisis and Decline of the Roman Empire

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.

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Pax, regarded by the ancients as a goddess, was worshiped not only at Rome but also at Athens. Her altar could not be stained with blood. Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple to her honor, which Vespasian finished, in the Via Sacra. The attributes of Peace are the hasta pura, the olive branch, the cornucopia, and often the caduceus. Sometimes she is represented setting fire to a pile of arms.
RS85599. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 3, RSC IV 173, Hunter III 8, SRCV III 8627, VF/aVF, centered on an unusually broad flan, fantastic portrait, light marks, die wear, edge cracks, weight 4.223 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 238 - 239 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PAX AVGVSTI (to the peace of the emperor), Pax standing front, head left, raising olive branch in right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand; ex Ancient Imports, ex Harlan J. Berk; $100.00 (85.00)


Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D.

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The reverse legend is an error and should read ADVENTVS AVG, announcing the arrival of the emperor.
RA85651. Silver antoninianus, cf. RSC IV 2, RIC IV 79, SRCV III 9622 (all with normal ADVENTVS AVG reverse legend), Choice VF, weight 4.568 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 30o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 251 - 252 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind, nothing below; reverse ADVNTVS AVG (sic!), Emperor on horseback left, raising right in salute, transverse scepter in left hand, nothing in exergue; scarce; $180.00 (153.00)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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Annona was worshiped in Rome for providing the annual supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capital. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the state, then imported and put into storage, reserved, and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.
RB85871. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 168a, Cohen V 26, Hunter III 91, SRCV III 8990, aVF, nice portrait, centered on an oval flan that cuts of parts of the legends, some corrosion, weight 12.075 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ANNONA AVGG, Annona standing left, grain in right hand held over modius overflowing with grain, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $50.00 (42.50)


Saloninus, Summer 260 A.D.

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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Saloninus, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
RA85487. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1707p (Samosata), RIC V 36 (Antioch), RSC IV 95a (Antioch), Hunter IV 12 (uncertain eastern), SRCV III 10775 (uncertain Syrian), Choice VF, well centered, nice portrait, porous, weight 4.385 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Syrian mint, as caesar, Jan - summer 260 A.D.; obverse SALON VALERIANVS NOB CAES, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Valerian (on left) standing right confronting Spes, wearing military garb and holding spear, Spes standing left, raising skirt with left hand and presenting flower to prince with right hand, pellet within wreath above; $110.00 (93.50)


Saloninus, Summer 260 A.D.

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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Saloninus, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.
RA85489. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1696d (Samosata), RIC V 36 (Antioch), RSC IV 95 (Antioch), SRCV III 10775 (uncertain Syrian), Hunter IV - (p. liii), F, white metal, well centered, areas weakly struck, porous, earthen deposits, weight 4.106 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Syrian mint, as caesar, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse SALON VALERIANVS NOB CAES, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Saloninus (on left) and Spes (on right) standing confronted, Spes is raising skirt and presenting flower to prince, Saloninus holds scepter in left; $70.00 (59.50)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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In 244 A.D., Philip negotiated peace with the Persia in order to deal with the troubles on the Rhine and Danube border. In 245 A.D., he campaigned against and made peace with several Germanic tribes.
RS84984. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 49b, RSC IV 227, Hunter III 16, SRCV III 8969, Choice EF, well centered, mint luster in recesses, light toning, light deposits, edge cracks, weight 3.732 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory advancing right, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left; $105.00 (89.25)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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"Peace founded with Persis" - after murdering young Gordian III, Philip needed a quick return Rome to secure his spot, so he made peace with Shapur and ended the campaign. The "P M" on the obverse possibly means "Persicus Maximus" boasting total victory, rather than the traditional "Pontifex Maximus".
RS84988. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 69 (S), RSC IV 113, Hunter III 120, SRCV III 8941, VF, broad flan, light toning, a few light marks, edge cracks, mild porosity, weight 3.849 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, Feb 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP C M IVL PHILIPPVS P F AVG P M, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PAX FVNDATA CVM PERSIS, Pax advancing left, branch in right hand, scepter in left; scarce; $125.00 (106.25)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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Nice gift for a lawyer or a judge. In Roman mythology, Aequitas was the minor goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Aequitas was also the personification of the virtues equity and fairness of the emperor (Aequitas Augusti). The scales, a natural emblem of equity, express righteousness. The cornucopia signifies the prosperity which results from Aequitas and Aequitas Augusti.
RS84993. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 27b, RSC IV 9, Hunter III 25, SRCV III 8918, Choice EF, mint luster in recesses, light toning, well centered on a broad flan, some reverse die wear, weight 3.638 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AEQVITAS AVGG (equity of the two emperors), Aequitas standing facing, head left, scales in right, cornucopia in left; $120.00 (102.00)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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In April 248, Philip combined the celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus. Undoubtedly the festivities included elephants, as advertised by this coin.
RS84967. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 17, RIC IV 58, Hunter III 31, SRCV III 8921, VF, centered on a broad oval flan, a few legend letters weak, deposits, light corrosion, weight 3.136 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 247 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; $140.00 (119.00)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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On 11 February 244, Emperor Gordian III was murdered by mutinous soldiers in Zaitha (Mesopotamia). Philip the Arab (Marcus Julius Philippus) declared himself emperor and made a disgraceful peace with the Sasanian Empire, withdrawing from their territory and giving Shapur 500,000 gold pieces. The Sasanians occupied Armenia. Philip was recognized by the Roman Senate as Emperor and he nominated his son Philippus, age 6, as Caesar and heir to the throne. He gave his brother Priscus supreme power (rector Orientis) in the Eastern provinces; and began construction of the city of Shahba, Syria in the province of his birth.
RY85323. Billon tetradrachm, Prieur 321 (1 spec.); McAlee 889 (v. rare); BMC Galatia p. 212, 505, EF, sharp attractive portrait, attractive iridescent toning, parts of legends weak, areas of some porosity, weight 13.256 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, 244 A.D.; obverse AVTOK K M IOV Λ ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust left, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing slightly left on palm frond, wings open, head left, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; $310.00 (263.50)











Catalog current as of Friday, January 19, 2018.
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Crisis and Decline