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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Constantinian Era ▸ Constantine the GreatView Options:  |  |  |   

Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, was the son of Helena and the First Tetrarchic ruler Constantius I. Constantine is most famous for his conversion to Christianity after the battle of the Milvian Bridge where he defeated emperor Maxentius. Before the battle he saw the words "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) emblazoned on the sun around the Chi Rho, the symbol of Christianity. After placing this Christogram on the shields of his army, he defeated his opponent and thus ruled the empire through divine providence. He also shifted the capital of the empire to Constantinople, establishing the foundation for an Empire that would last another 1000 years. He died in 337 and his sons divided the Roman territories.


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This variety appears to be much rarer than RIC VIII's R2 rating indicates. RIC references LRBC and an example from the Chorleywood Hoard found in Hertfordshire, England in 1977. We found only one other example online - in the Forum Members' Gallery.
RL70557. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Arles 41 (R2), LRBC 41, Voetter -, Milchev Constantine -, aF, scratches, weight 1.269 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 180o, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, posthumous, 9 Sep 337 - May 340 A.D.; obverse DIVO CONSTANTINO P, veiled and draped bust right; reverse AETERNA PIETAS, Constantine standing right, in military dress, inverted spear behind in left, globe in right hand, X left, [PCON or SCON] in exergue (off flan); very rare; $360.00 (€313.20)
 


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A very rare commemorative issue struck at Lyon for Constantine after his death. Constantine is most famous for leading the Empire to Christianity. Before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, he saw "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) on the sun around Chi Rho. With the symbol of Christ on his army's shields he was victorious.
RL66868. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Lyon 2 (R), LRBC 238, Bastien Lyon 3 (only 4 specimens), VF, weight 1.777 g, maximum diameter 12.9 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, posthumous, 337 - 340 A.D.; obverse DIVO CONSTANTINO P, veiled bust right; reverse AETERNA PIETAS, Constantine standing right, in military dress, inverted spear behind in left, globe in right hand, staurogram (Greek cruciform monogram for Christ) in upper right field, PLG (off flan) in exergue; very rare; $180.00 (€156.60)
 


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In 315, immense baths were constructed in Augusta Treverorum (modern Trier).
RB71998. Billon follis, RIC VII Trier 105, SRCV IV 16063, Cohen VII 525, Choice EF, weight 3.551 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 316 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI, Sol standing left, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder and arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in extended left, T- F across fields, BTR in exergue; $180.00 (€156.60)
 


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In 318, Constantine was given the title Brittanicus Maximus for victories in Britain. The details of the battles are unknown.
RL71415. Billon follis, RIC VII 164, SRCV IV 16083, Cohen -, Nice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 3.616 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 315o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 318 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI, Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left, P star in crescent in exergue; scarce; $175.00 (€152.25)
 


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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. It is commonly claimed that the date of 25 December for Christmas was selected in order to correspond with the Roman festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."
SH71416. Billon follis, RIC VII Lugdunum 35 (R4), SRCV IV 16069, Cohen VII -, VF, nice armored bust left, sea green patina, light scratches, weight 3.142 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 314 - 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust left; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI, Sol standing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left, TF left, star right, PLG in exergue; very rare; $175.00 (€152.25)
 


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This coin was struck in 314 AD. Anno Domini (AD) year numbering was developed by a monk named Dionysius Exiguus in Rome in 525. In Roman times, the dominant method of identifying Roman years was to name the two consuls who held office that year. The regnal year of the emperor was also used to identify years. The year 314 AD was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rufius and Annianus. Imagine how difficult it would be to use the Roman system. If someone was born in Kennedy year 2, could you determine how old they are now by adding up the number of years each president served since then? Most Romans did not know their own age.
RL71418. Billon follis, RIC VII Rome 19, SRCV IV 16096, Cohen VII -, Choice gVF, attractive style, weight 2.679 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 315o, 1st officina, Rome mint, 314 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI, Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left, R - F flanking at sides, R*P in exergue; $145.00 (€126.15)
 


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The word comiti, during imperial times indicated a minister of the emperor. Even the two consuls where called "comites." The legend therefore reads: "to the unconquered Sun, minister [of Constantine]."
RL71417. Billon follis, RIC VII Rome 27, SRCV IV 16097, Cohen VII -, Choice VF, perfect centering, Sol's head struck a bit flat, weight 3.181 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI, Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, extending globe in left, R over X left, F right, R Q in ANT in exergue; $135.00 (€117.45)
 


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On 25 July 315, The Arch of Constantine was completed near the Colosseum at Rome to commemorate Constantine's victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge. As part of the ceremony Constantine was expected to make a sacrifice to Rome's traditional gods, but he refused to do so. Also in 315, Constantine abolishied crucifixion as punishment and established a new program of assistance to the poor.
RL72420. Billon follis, RIC VII Lyons 17, SRCV IV 16067, EF, attractive style, good strike, weight 3.648 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI, Sol standing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left, T - F flanking at sides, PLG in exergue; $135.00 (€117.45)
 


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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This coin refers Constantine's victory in the Sarmatian war in 322 A.D. According to Zosimus (lib. 2), Constantine routed the Sarmatae and drove them back beyond the Danube where they rallied to renew the fight. He defeated them and again put them to flight, taking a great number of prisoners. Their King, Rausimodus was left among the slain.
RL75806. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 435, Cohen VII 487, SRCV IV 16284, Choice EF, perfect centering, Victory's face a little flatly struck, closed crack, weight 3.538 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 323 - 324 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse SARMATIA DEVICTA, Victory advancing right, treading on captive, trophy in right, palm in left, PTR crescent in exergue; $135.00 (€117.45)
 


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In 332, Constantine I and his son Constantine II, age 16, defeated the Goths in Moesia. The Goths agreed to become Roman allies and to protect the Danube frontier. Only two years later, in 334, the Goths on the Danube frontier prevented an invasion by the Vandals.
RL71422. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Thessalonica 183, LRBC I 835, SRCV IV 16352, Choice gVF, well centered, nice green patina, weight 3.554 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 330 - 333 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laurel and rosette diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS (glory of the army), two soldiers standing facing, heads turned inward confronted, two standards in center between them, each holds a spear in outer hand and rests inner hand on grounded shield, SMTSA in exergue; $130.00 (€113.10)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
CONSTANTINVSAG
CONSTANTINVSAVG
CONSTANTINVSFILAVGG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSNC
CONSTANTINVSNOBC
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
CONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSFILAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
IMPCONSTANTINVSAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCONSTNTINVSMAXAVG


REFERENCES

Bastien, P. Le Monnayage de l'Atelier de Lyon, De la Réforme Monétaire de Dioclétien à la fermeture temporaire de l'Atelier en 316 (294 - 316). Numismatique Romaine XI. (Wetteren, 1980).
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 Dioclétien a Constantin I (284 - 337). (Wetteren, 1995).
Failmezger, V. Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity, 294 - 364 A.D. (Washington D.C., 2002).
Milchev, S. The Coins of Constantine the Great. (Sophia, 2007).
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).
Speck, R.S. & S.M. Huston. Constantine's Dafne Coinage at Constantinople. (San Francisco, 1992).
Voetter, O. Die Miinzen der romischen Kaiser, Kaiserinnen und Caesaren von Diocletianus bis Romulus: Katalog der Sammlung Paul Gerin. (Vienna, 1921).

Catalog current as of Saturday, August 29, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Constantine the Great