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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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The reverse may commemorate Gallienus' victory over the Alemanni at Milan in 259 A.D.
RS86651. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 872d, RIC V-1 J18 (Lugdunum), RSC IV 308 (Lugdunum), SRCV III 10225, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, toned, some die wear, flan edge slightly ragged, weight 4.302 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, c. 259 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GERMANICVS MAX V, two captives seated back-to-back flanking the foot of a trophy of captured arms, their arms tied behind their backs; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; scarce; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RA79726. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1684m (Samosata), RIC V-1 J447 (Asia), SRCV III 10312 (uncertain Syrian), F, well centered, porous, weight 3.155 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, Syrian mint, 256 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PIETAS AVGG (to the piety of the two emperors), Valerian and Gallienus standing confronting each other, facing center, sacrificing at flaming altar in center, togate, on left holding eagle-tipped scepter, on right holding parazonium; $12.00 (€10.20)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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In 256 A.D., the cities in the Roman Empire begin to build walls as the defense of the frontiers collapsed. The Goths invaded Asia Minor, Dacia was lost, and they appeared at the walls of Thessalonica. The Franks crossed the Rhine. The Alamanni penetrated to Milan. In Africa, the Berbers massacred Roman colonists. King Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia and Syria and plundered Antioch, Zeugma, and Dura-Europos.
RA79727. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1703m (Samosata), RIC V-1 456 (Antioch), F, well centered on a broad flan, porous, earthen encrustations, weight 3.172 g, maximum diameter 22.65 mm, die axis 0o, Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Valerian and Gallienus standing confronted; Valerian on left, scepter in right hand, globe in left hand; Gallienus on right offering Victory to Valerian, transverse spear in left hand; $30.00 (€25.50)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
In 256 A.D., the cities in the Roman Empire begin to build walls as the defense of the frontiers collapsed. The Goths invaded Asia Minor, Dacia was lost, and they appeared at the walls of Thessalonica. The Franks crossed the Rhine. The Alamanni penetrated to Milan. In Africa, the Berbers massacred Roman colonists. King Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia and Syria and plundered Antioch, Zeugma, and Dura-Europos.
RA87012. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1699m (Samosata), RIC V-1 S447 (Asia), RSC IV 792a, SRCV III 10312 (uncertain Syrian), VF, well centered on a broad flan, porous, light pitting, weight 3.985 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PIETAS AVGG (to the piety of the two emperors), Valerian and Gallienus standing confronted, sacrificing over altar between them, each togate and holding short scepter, pellet in wreath above; $40.00 (€34.00)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
In 256 A.D., the cities in the Roman Empire begin to build walls as the defense of the frontiers collapsed. The Goths invaded Asia Minor, Dacia was lost, and they appeared at the walls of Thessalonica. The Franks crossed the Rhine. The Alamanni penetrated to Milan. In Africa, the Berbers massacred Roman colonists. King Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia and Syria and plundered Antioch, Zeugma, and Dura-Europos.
RA87016. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1703m (Samosata), RIC V-1 456 (Antioch), F, broad flan, porous, earthen deposits, weight 3.036 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Valerian and Gallienus standing confronted; Valerian on left, scepter in right hand, globe in left hand; Gallienus on right offering Victory to Valerian, transverse spear in left hand; $25.00 (€21.25)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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Gallienus was the first Roman emperor to commission primarily cavalry units, the Comitatenses, that could be dispatched anywhere in the Empire in short order. He also forbade senators from becoming military commanders. These policies undermined senatorial power, as equestrian commanders rose to prominence. These reforms and the decline in senatorial influence not only helped Aurelian to salvage the Empire, but they also make Gallienus one of the emperors most responsible for the creation of the Dominate, along with Septimius Severus, Diocletian, and Constantine I.
RA87019. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1687m (Samosata), SRCV III 10414 var. (obv legend, Syrian mint), RIC-1 V 456 (Antioch), Cohen 1310, AHG 250 (this coin), VF, well centered, porous, edge cracks, weight 3.393 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Valerian (on left) and Gallienus standing confronted; Valerian holds scepter in right, globe in left; Gallienus offering Victory in right, transverse spear in left; $35.00 (€29.75)
 


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; $50.00 (€42.50)
 


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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-1 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; $30.00 (€25.50)
 


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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-1 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; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Seleucia ad Calycadnum, Cilicia

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Seleucia ad Calycadnum (modern, Silifke, Turkey) took its name from its founder, Seleucus I Nicator. The Romans, who conquered the region in the 2nd century BC, built a bridge across the Calicadnus; its foundations still support the current bridge. According to tradition, Thecla, who was converted by St. Paul, escaped martyrdom by hiding in a nearby cave. The cave was later turned into a shrine, and in the 5th century, the Byzantine Emperor Zeno, who was born in the mountains to the north, built a large basilica above the cave.
RP78024. Bronze AE 29, SNG Cop supp. 602 (same dies); BMC Lycaonia p. 142, 59; Lindgren -; SNG BnF -; SNG Levante -; SNGvA -; SNG Cop -; SNG Hunterian -; SNG PfPS -, gF, irregular flan, marks and corrosion, weight 10.093 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Seleuceia ad Calycadnum (Silifke, Turkey) mint, c. 260 - 268 A.D.; obverse AY K ΠO ΛIKIN ΓAΛΛIHNON, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse CEΛEY−KE−Ω−N TΩN ΠPOX KAΛY/K−A∆−N−Ω (or similar, clockwise in two lines, starting lower left), Nike standing facing, head left, right foot on globe, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $36.00 (€30.60)
 




  






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 Monday, May 21, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Gallienus