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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Constantinian Era ▸ ConstansView Options:  |  |  | 

Constans, 9 September 337 - 19 January 350 A.D.

Constans was the youngest son of Constantine I and Fausta. Born around 320, Constans inherited part of the Western Empire upon its division among the sons of Constantine. In 340, his brother, Constantine II, invaded his territory but was defeated and killed leaving Constans in total control of the West. In 350, however, the general Magnentius rebelled and Constans fled as his legions switched sides. He was overtaken and killed while trying to escape to Spain.


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The Roman poet Ovid tells the story of the Phoenix: 'Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent's sepulcher), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.'
BB79485. Billon quarter maiorina, RIC VIII Cyzicus 88 (R), LRBC II 2482, SRCV V 18721, Cohen VII 22, Voetter -, Hunter V -, aF, well centered on a tight flan, weight 1.819 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTA-NS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), radiate Phoenix standing right on celestial globe, star right, SMKΓ in exergue; rare; $10.00 SALE PRICE $9.00
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae duorum dominorum augusti que nostrorum, which means, "to the Victory of our two lord emperors."
RL79585. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Trier 188 (C), LRBC I 142, Voetter 15, SRCV V 1885, Cohen VII 179 var., gVF, well centered on a tight flan, edge cracks, weight 1.541 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 347 - 348 A.D.; obverse CONSTANS P F AVG, rosette-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse VICTORIAE DD AVGG Q NN (to the victories of our two lord emperors), two victories standing toward center confronted, each extending a wreath in their right hand and holding a palm frond in their left hand, star in center, TR S in exergue; $32.00 SALE PRICE $28.80
 


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The reverse legend dedicates this coin to "the glory of the Army."
RL79320. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 552 (R3), LRBC I 75, SRCV V 1834, Cohen VII 77, EF, excellent portrait, centered on a tight flan cutting off tops of letters on part of the reverse legend, some mint luster, edge crack, weight 2.277 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, as caesar, 333 - 334 A.D.; obverse FL IVL CONSTANS NOB CAES, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA EXERCITVS (glory of the army), two soldiers standing facing, flanking two standards and wreath in center, heads confronted, each holds a spear in outer hand and rests inner hand on grounded shield, TRP in exergue; rare; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00
 


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The reverse legend dedicates this coin to "the glory of the Army."
RL79321. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 552 (R4), LRBC I 75, SRCV V 1834, Cohen VII 77, EF, dark near black surfaces with some mint luster, areas of light porosity, reverse slightly off center on a tight flan, some die wear, weight 2.656 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, as caesar, 333 - 334 A.D.; obverse FL IVL CONSTANS NOB CAES, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA EXERCITVS (glory of the army), two soldiers standing facing, flanking two standards and wreath in center, heads confronted, each holds a spear in outer hand and rests inner hand on grounded shield, TRS in exergue; very rare; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00
 


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In 337 A.D., Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans succeed their father Constantine I and rule as co-emperors. A number of descendants of Constantius Chlorus, including the caesar Delmatius, as well as officials of the Roman Empire, were executed. The three Augusti denied responsibility for the purge.
RL79351. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 593 (R3), LRBC I 95, SRCV V 18360, Cohen VII 52, EF, nearly as struck, excellent portrait, well centered on a tight flan cutting off bottom of mintmark, clashed reverse die, tiny edge crack, weight 1.834 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 335 - 337 A.D.; obverse FL IVL CONSTANS NOB CAES, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse GLOR-IA EXER-CITVS, 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, •TRS• in exergue; rare; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00
 


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The Christogram (also called a Monogramma Christi or Chrismon) is a ligature of Chi (X) and Rho (P), the first two letters of Christ in Greek. It was among the earliest symbols of Christianity. The crucifix was rarely used in early Christian iconography, perhaps because most people then had personally witnessed its gruesome use for public execution.
RL79388. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Arles 397 (S), LRBC I 401, SRCV V 18363, Cohen VII 64, VF, dark green patina, traces of silvering toned gold, well-centered, tight flan cutting off much of mintmark, tiny spots of corrosion, die cracks larger reverse center, weight 1.811 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 336 A.D.; obverse FL IVL CONSTANS NOB CAES, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse GLOR-IA EXER-CITVS, two soldiers standing facing, flanking a labarum (Chi Rho Christogram vexillum) in center, heads confronted, each holds a spear in outer hand and rests inner hand on grounded shield, SCONST in exergue; scarce; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00
 


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Constans began his reign in an energetic fashion. In 341 - 342, he led a successful campaign against the Franks, and in the early months of 343 he visited Britain. The source for this visit, Julius Firmicus Maternus, does not provide a reason, but the quick movement and the danger involved in crossing the channel in the dangerous winter months suggests it was in response to a military emergency, possibly to repel the Picts and Scots.
BB83786. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Thessalonica 57, LRBC I 856, SRCV V 18547, Cohen VII 54, F, green patina, weight 1.261 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 225o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 337 - 341 A.D.; obverse CONSTANS P F AVG, 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, SMTS[A?] in exergue; $16.00 SALE PRICE $14.40
 


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On 22 May 337 Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor, died at age 65 in Achyron, near Nicomedia. He was baptized shortly before his death by Eusebius of Nicomedia.
BB83794. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Antioch 111, LRBC I 1366, SRCV V 18560, Cohen VII 50 var., F, centered, uneven strike with weak areas, light corrosion, light encrustation, weight 1.576 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, 9th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 336 - 337 A.D.; obverse FL IVL CONSTANS NOB C, laureate 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, SMANΘ in exergue; $10.00 SALE PRICE $9.00
 


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In 348, the Goth bishop Wulfila escaped religious persecution by the Gothic chieftain Athanaric and obtained permission from Constantius II to migrate with his flock of converts to Moesia and settle near Nicopolis ad Istrum (Bulgaria).
RL84210. Billon quarter maiorina, RIC VIII Thessalonica 120, LRBC II 1642, SRCV 18732, Cohen VII 10, Choice VF, well centered, nice green patina, some light scratches, weight 2.324 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), Constans standing left in galley left, Phoenix on globe in right hand, labarum in left hand, Victory seated in stern steering, TESΓ in exergue; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00
 


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Regarding religion, Constans was tolerant of Judaism and promulgated an edict banning pagan sacrifices in 341. He suppressed Donatism in Africa and supported Nicene orthodoxy against Arianism, which was championed by his brother Constantius. Although Constans called the Council of Sardica in 343 to settle the conflict, it was a complete failure, and by 346 the two emperors were on the point of open warfare over the dispute. The conflict was only resolved by an interim agreement which allowed each emperor to support their preferred clergy within their own spheres of influence.
RL83817. Billon quarter maiorina, RIC VIII Thessalonica 120, LRBC II 1642, SRCV 18732, Cohen VII 10, aVF, green patina with coppery high-points, reverse slightly off-center, areas of light corrosion, weight 2.904 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 348 - 349 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTA-NS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), Constans standing left on galley, Phoenix on globe in right hand, labarum in left hand, Victory seated in stern steering ship, TESA in exergue; $22.00 SALE PRICE $19.80
 










OBVERSE LEGENDS

CONSTANSAVG
CONSTANSAVGVSTVS
CONSTANSCAESAR
CONSTANSPFAVG
DNCONSTANSPFAVG
FLCONSTANSNOBCAES
FLCONSTANTISBEAC
FLIVLCONSTANSAVG
FLIVLCONSTANSNOBC
FLIVLCONSTANSNOBCAES
FLIVLCONSTANSPERPAVG
FLIVLCONSTANSPFAVG
FLIVLCONSTANSPIVSFELIXAVG


REFERENCES

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.M. 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 monnaies d'or de Constantin II à Zenon (337-491). Moneta 5. (Wetteren, 1996).
Failmezger, V. Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity, 294 - 364 A.D. (Washington D.C., 2002).
King, C.E. & D.R. 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.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine: The Collapse of Paganism and the Triumph of Christianity, Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 211).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. V: The Christian Empire: The Later Constantinian Dynasty and the Houses of Valentinian and Theodosius and Their Successors, Constantine II to Zeno, AD 337 - 491. (London, 2014).
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, February 26, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Constans