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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Crisis and Decline ▸ GallienusView Options:  |  |  | 

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

Gallienus was co-emperor with his father Valerian from 253, then ruled alone after his father's capture by Parthia in 260. Ruling during the Crisis of the Third Century that nearly caused the collapse of the empire, he repelled wave after wave of barbarian invaders, but he was unable to prevent the secession of important provinces. Gallienus presided over a late flowering of Roman culture, patronizing poets, artists, and philosophers. He was assassinated by his own soldiers in 268 while besieging Milan.


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Virtus is the personification of valor and courage. Valor was, of course, essential for the success of a Roman emperor and Virtus was one of the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult. During his joint reign with his father, Gallienus proved his courage in battle; but his failure to liberate his father from Persian captivity was perceived as cowardice and a disgrace to the Emperor and Empire. It was not, however, actually fear that prevented a rescue. While others mourned Valerian's fate, Gallienus rejoiced in his new sovereignty.
RB77901. Orichalcum sestertius, Göbl MIR 38bb, RIC V 248, Cohen V 1293, Hunter IV 33, SRCV III 10495, F, small flan cutting off most of legends, porosity, weight 12.230 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Virtus standing left, wearing crested helmet and military garb, right resting hand on grounded shield, inverted spear vertical behind in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $60.00 (€53.40)
 


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In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia, fathered by the god of war, Mars. They were abandoned in the Tiber as infants. Faustulus, a shepherd, found the infants being suckled by the she-wolf (Lupa) at the foot of the Palatine Hill. Their cradle, in which they had been abandoned, was on the shore overturned under a fig tree. Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. Romulus was the first King of Rome.
RA84680. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1628a, RSC IV 47, Hunter IV S194x, RIC V S628 var. (bust type), SRCV III 10171 var. (cuirassed bust left), VF, full circle strikes, weight 3.648 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 315o, Antioch mint, 264 - 265 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head left; reverse AETERNITAS AVG, she-wolf standing right, head left, the twins Romulus and Remus suckling below, palm frond right in exergue; $50.00 (€44.50)
 


Alexandreia Troas, Troas, 253 - 268 A.D.

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Alexandria Troas (modern Eski Stambul) is on the Aegean Sea near the northern tip of the west coast of Anatolia, a little south of Tenedos (modern Bozcaada). The city was founded by Antigonus around 310 B.C. with the name Antigoneia and was populated with the inhabitants of Cebren, Colone, Hamaxitus, Neandria, and Scepsis. About 301 B.C., Lysimachus improved the city and re-named it Alexandreia. Among the few structure ruins remaining today are a bath, an odeon, a theater and gymnasium complex and a stadium. The circuit of the old walls can still be traced.
RP84513. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 117; SNG Munchen 63; BMC Troas p. 15, 53 ff. var. (legends); RPC Online IX 497 var. (same); Bellinger Troy A490; SNGvA -, VF, tight flan, sharp detail, slightly rough, weight 4.852 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, reign of Gallienus, 253 - 268 A.D.; obverse AL-EXA TRO, turreted and draped bust of Tyche of Alexandria Troas right, vexillum behind; reverse CO - A-VG - TRO, eagle flying right, bull head right its talons; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


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Virtus is the personification of valor and courage. Valor was, of course, essential for the success of a Roman emperor and Virtus was one of the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult. During his joint reign with his father, Gallienus proved his courage in battle; but his failure to liberate his father from Persian captivity was perceived as cowardice and a disgrace to the Emperor and Empire. It was not, however, actually fear that prevented a rescue. While others mourned Valerian's fate, Gallienus rejoiced in his new sovereignty.
RA79905. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1617e, RSC IV 1235a, RIC V S667, SRCV III 10402 var. (obv. legend), F, well centered, porous, small edge cracks, weight 3.144 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 266 - 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing left, helmeted and wearing military garb, resting right hand on shield set on ground, spear with point up in left, star left; $24.00 (€21.36)


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Gallienus paid particular adoration to Mars. He raised a temple to the worship of Mars in the Circus Flaminius and called the god Propugnator (champion or defender). "Mars the Pacifier or Peacemaker" may be seen as ironic today, but the Romans knew that victory in war (hopefully including the total destruction of your enemy) is an effective way to achieve peace.
RA84388. Billon antoninianus, Hunter IV 68 (also with A appearing like N), Göbl MIR 570a, RIC V S236, RSC IV 617a, SRCV III 10288, VF, well centered, dark patina, weak centers, slightest porosity, weight 3.497 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Rome mint, 8th emission, c. 263 - 266 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right, one tie over shoulder; reverse MARTI PACIFERO (to Mars the peacemaker), Mars standing left in military garb, raising olive branch in right hand, left resting on grounded shield behind, spear vertical behind with point up resting against shield and left arm, A (top open, appearing like N) left; $38.00 (€33.82)
 


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Victoria or Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, personifies victory. She was described variously in different myths as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves.
RS90075. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 30d; RIC V, part 1, 125; RSC IV 230, Hunter IV 14, SRCV III 9985, F, well centered, ragged flan, edge cracks, weight 2.799 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1st emission, 253 - 254 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVGG (victory of the two emperors), Victory standing left, wreath extended in right hand, palm frond in left hand; $30.00 (€26.70)
 


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Fortuna Redux, one of the many aspects of Fortuna, was in charge of bringing people home safely, primarily from wars - redux means "coming back" or "returning." She may be one of the later aspects of Fortuna, as the earliest mention of her is on an altar dedicated by the Senate in 19 B.C. for the safe return of Emperor Augustus.
RA84443. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1350f, RSC IV 281, Hunter IV S178, RIC V S483, SRCV III 10218, VF, weight 2.604 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 135o, 2nd officina, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, c. 266 A.D.; obverse IMP GALLIENVS AVG, radiate bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse FORT REDVX, Fortuna seated left, holding rudder on globe by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, MS in exergue; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was on the Via Egnatia, the principal Roman across southern Balkans. In 50, the apostle Paul visited Amphipolis on his way to Thessaloniki. Many Christian churches were built indicating prosperity, but the region grew increasingly dangerous. In the 6th century, the population had declined considerably and the old perimeter was no longer defensible against Slavic invasions. The lower city was plundered for materials to fortify the Acropolis. In the 7th century, a new wall was built, right through the bath and basilica, dividing the Acropolis. The remaining artisans moved to houses and workshops built in the unused cisterns of the upper city. In the 8th century, the last inhabitants probably abandoned the city and moved to nearby Chrysopolis (formerly Eion, once the port of Amphipolis).
RP79943. Bronze AE 25, Varbanov III 3315 (R4); AMNG III p. 43, 89; BMC Macedonia p. 60, 140 var. (obv. legend); SNG Cop 122; SNG ANS -; SNG Righetti -, aVF, obverse slightly off center, some legend weak, porous, weight 9.199 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse AVT ΠO ΛIKIN EΓ ΓAΛΛHNOC (OC ligate), radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITΩN, City-goddess seated left on high-backed throne, kalathos on head, statue of Artemis Tauropolos in extended right hand, cornucopia in left hand, fish left in exergue; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Alexandreia Troas, Troas

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Alexandria Troas (modern Eski Stambul) is on the Aegean Sea near the northern tip of the west coast of Anatolia, a little south of Tenedos (modern Bozcaada). The city was founded by Antigonus around 310 B.C. with the name Antigoneia and was populated with the inhabitants of Cebren, Colone, Hamaxitus, Neandria, and Scepsis. About 301 B.C., Lysimachus improved the city and re-named it Alexandreia. Among the few structure ruins remaining today are a bath, an odeon, a theater and gymnasium complex and a stadium. The circuit of the old walls can still be traced.
RP77996. Bronze AE 20, SNG Canakkale 452; BMC Troas p. 32, 180; SNG Cop 209; SNG Hunterian 1299; Bellinger A458; SNGvA -; SNG Tanrikulu -, VF/gF, fantastic portrait, reverse a little weak, porous, weight 3.964 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse IMP LICIN GALLIENV, laureate, draped, and bearded bust right, from behind; reverse COL AVG TRO, eagle standing facing, head left, wings open, bull forepart left in its talons; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $40.00 (€35.60)
 


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Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."
RA79907. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1659f, RSC IV 987, RIC V S658, SRCV III 10364, Hunter IV 212 var. (cuirassed from front), VF/gF, well centered, toned, earthen deposits, weight 3.403 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left; $28.00 (€24.92)










OBVERSE LEGENDS

IMPCAESGALLIENVSAVG
IMPCGALLIENVSPFAVG
IMPCPLICGALLIENVSAVG
IMPCPLICGALLIENVSPFAVG
IMPGALLIENVSAVG
IMPGALLIENVSAVGCOSV
IMPGALLIENVSAVGGER
IMPGALLIENVSAVGGERM
IMPBALLIENVSFAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPAVGGERM
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVGGERM
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVGGERS
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVGG
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVGGM
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFEL
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFELAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFELAVGGERM
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFELIXAVG
IMPGALLIENVSVAVG
IMPPLICGALLIENVSAVG
IMPPLICGALLIENVSPFAVG
GALLIENAEAVGVSTAE
GALLIENVMAVGPR
GALLIENVMAVGSENATVS
GALLIENVMPRINC
GALLIENVMSENATVS
GALLIENVSAVG
GALLIENVSAVGGERM
GALLIENVSAVGGERMV
GALLIENVSPAVG
GALLIENVSPFAVG
GALLIENVSPFAVGGERM
GALLIENVSPIVSAVG
GALLIENVSPIVSFAVG
GALLIENVSPIVSFELIXAVG



REFERENCES

Besly, E. & R. Bland. The Cunetio Treasure: Roman Coinage of the Third Century AD. (London, 1983).
Burnett, A. & R. Bland, eds. Coin Hoards from Roman Britain: The Normanby Hoard and Other Roman Coin Hoards. (London, 1988).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. Two: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Volume 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Elmer, G. "Die Münzprägung der gallischen Kaiser von Postumus bis Tetricus in Köln, Trier und Mailand." in Bonner Jahrbücher 146 (1941).
Göbl, R. et al. Moneta Imperii Romani, Band 35: Die Münzprägung des Kaiser Valerianus I/Gallienus/Saloninus (253/268), Regalianus (260) un Macrianus/Quietus (260/262). (Vienna, 2000).
Mattingly, H., Sydenham and Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part I, Valerian to Florian. (London, 1927).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Seaby, H.A. & D.R. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume Three, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, May 25, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Gallienus