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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.
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 SALE PRICE $21.60

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In 268, Gallienus was murdered by his senior officers while besieging the would-be usurper Aureolus in Mediolanum (Milan). The Senate charged Marcus Aurelius Claudius with Gallienus' murder but it was never proven. The accused became the new emperor, Claudius II.
BB83790. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 710b, RIC V S284, RSC IV 981, SRCV III 10362, Hunter IV 127 var. (Pegasus right), F, green patina, small flan, encrustations, weight 1.986 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 90o, 9th officina, Rome mint, 267 - 268 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse SOLI CONS AVG, Pegasus flying left, N in exergue; $14.00 SALE PRICE $16.00 ON RESERVE

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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 SALE PRICE $34.20

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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 SALE PRICE $27.00

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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 SALE PRICE $90.00

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 SALE PRICE $126.00

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 SALE PRICE $36.00

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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 SALE PRICE $25.20

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; $40.00 SALE PRICE $36.00

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This type commemorates vows made to Apollo invoking his protection against the revolt of Aureolus. During the siege of Milan, at a late hour but while he was still lingering with pleasures of the table, a false alarm was suddenly given, reporting that Aureolus, at the head of all his forces, had made a desperate sally from the town. Gallienus, who was never deficient in personal bravery, started from his silken couch, and without allowing himself time either to put on his armor or to assemble his guards, he mounted on horseback and rode full speed towards the supposed place of the attack. There he was ambushed by enemies from among his own officers. Amidst the nocturnal tumult, he received a mortal wound from an uncertain hand. Perhaps his request to Apollo was too specific and asked only for protection from Aureolus?

According to Philostratus, the griffin was sacred to Apollo or Sol. On coins of Aureliopolis in Lydia, griffins are represented drawing the chariot of the Sun.
RA77903. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 718z, RIC V S165, RSC IV 77, Hunter IV S88, SRCV III 10180 var. (no IMP), VF, dark near black patina, tight flan, edge crack, light marks, some porosity, weight 2.277 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, 4th officina, Rome mint, 10th emission, 267 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse IMP GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse APOLLINI CONS AVG (to Apollo the preserver of the Emperor), griffin walking left, ∆ in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex-Lindgren, ex-Colosseum Coin Exchange; $35.00 SALE PRICE $31.50




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Catalog current as of Sunday, February 26, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Gallienus