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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)


Maximinus I Thrax, 20 March 235 - Late May 238 A.D.

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The standard bust for Maximinus I Thrax denarii is laureate, draped and cuirassed. A cuirass is not visible on this coin. Of the references consulted only RSC III listed this type without a cuirass. The variant is likely an engraving error.
RS85600. Silver denarius, RSC III 31b (no cuirass), RIC IV 12 var. (cuirassed), BMCRE VI 70 var. (same), Hunter III 8 var. (same), SRCV III 8310 var. (same), gVF, excellent portrait, well centered, light toning, porosity, edge cracks, ragged flan, weight 2.909 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 2nd emission, late summer 236 A.D.; obverse IMP MAXIMINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right (no cuirass?), from behind; reverse PAX AVGVSTI (to the peace of the emperor), Pax standing facing, head left, raising olive branch in right hand, transverse scepter in left; $110.00 (93.50)


Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D.

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When Philip visited Antioch, Saint Babylas refused to let him enter the gathering of Christians at the Easter vigil (Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica, VI, 34). Later legend elaborates, stating that Babylas demanded that he do penance for his part in the murder of the young Gordian III before he would allow Philip to celebrate Easter. Saint Babylas died in prison in 253 during the Decian persecution. He asked to be buried in his chains.
RS85645. Silver antoninianus, Bland 64 (5 spec., also bust from front), RIC IV 240a (R), RSC IV 1, SRCV IV 9259, Hunter III - (p. xciv), Choice aEF, light toning, nice portrait, light marks, weight 4.186 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 345o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 245 - 247 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse AEQVITAS AVGG (equity of the two emperors), Aequitas standing half left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rare; $140.00 (119.00)


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)


Volusian, c. November 251 - July or August 253 A.D.

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Virtus to the ancient Romans included valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Curiously, despite the masculine characteristics of virtus, the personification or deity Virtus was usually depicted as a female warrior, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can usually be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.
RS85613. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 187 (S), RSC IV 135a, Hunter III 14, SRCV III 9778, aEF, choice obverse, excellent portrait, toned, reverse struck with a worn die, weight 3.406 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 3rd emission, 252 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE C VIB VOLVSIANO AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Virtus standing half left, right hand resting on grounded shield, reversed spear vertical in left hand, star right; ex CGB (spring 2011); scarce; $140.00 (119.00)


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)


Salonina, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Astarte, called "Ashtroth" in Scripture, was the favorite goddess of the Sidonians, Tyrians, Philistines, and Syro-Phoenicians generally. She was associated with the Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus Genetrix, being believed by the ancients to be the goddess of generation, as well as of beauty. Astarte was chiefly worshiped and appears on the coins of Berytus, Bostra, Sidon, and Tyre. Her image is of a young woman, wearing a tall headdress; and clothed in a tunic, high in the neck- sometimes, not reaching lower than the knees, or sometimes with a longer dress, but with one knee exposed, and one foot planted on a galley's prow.
RP84808. Bronze AE 27, Rouvier VII p. 107, 2562; Lindgren II 2400; Mionnet VIII supp. p. 314, 359; BMC Phoenicia -; Baramki AUB -; SNG Hunt -; SNG Cop -; SNG Righetti -, F, red earthen fill, porous, edge bump, weight 15.353 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse CORNE SALON . . ., diademed and draped bust right; reverse COL TYRO ME TRO, Astarte standing facing, head left, wearing kalathos, right hand on trophy of arms standing on left, transverse scepter in left hand, Nike standing on column on right crowning the goddess, murex shell low inner left; very rare; $85.00 (72.25)


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; $150.00 (127.50)


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.
RA85488. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1707u (Samosata), RIC V 36 (Antioch), RSC IV 95a (Antioch), SRCV III 10775 (uncertain Syrian), Hunter IV - (p. liii), VF/F, well centered, good portrait, toned, porous, reverse rough, weight 3.449 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Syrian mint, as caesar, Jan - summer 260 A.D.; obverse SALON VALERIANVS NOB CAES, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Spes on left, raising skirt, presenting flower to prince, star above; $125.00 (106.25)


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; $100.00 (85.00)











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Crisis and Decline