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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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The name and the image of the sun god were frequently displayed on the coins of Rome. Apollo, in particular, was the object of homage in those dreadful times when the spread of plague depopulated the empire. But in the period when paganism was falling to the spread of Christianity, the emperors invoked the sun god Sol more than ever. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Saint Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
SH28350. Billon follis, RIC VII Arles -, gVF, weight 3.553 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Constantia-Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 315 - 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate consular bust left, globe in right and eagle-tipped scepter in left; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, S F at sides, SARL in exergue; extremely rare; SOLD


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Upon Constantius' death, Severus II was elevated to the rank of Augustus, while the young Constantine was appointed Caesar. RIC VI notes the ANT: issue was probably continued after 25 July 306 into the spring 307, but no coins of Severus as Augustus were known to the authors. Constantine Caesar is not mentioned at all in conjunction with this last full size follis issue. He is noted for the first time in 308 A.D. for the lighter reformed GENIO CAESARIS* folles.
SH28162. Billon follis, RIC VI Antiochia -, VF, weight 8.872 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 180o, 9th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, autumn 306 - spring 307 A.D.; obverse FL VAL CONSTANTINVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, modius on head, holding patera from which liquid flows and cornucopia, ∆-E at sides (officina 9), ANT: in exergue; extremely rare; SOLD


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Upon Constantius' death, Severus II was elevated to the rank of Augustus, while the young Constantine was appointed Caesar. RIC VI notes the ANT: issue was probably continued after 25 July 306 into the spring 307, but no coins of Severus as Augustus were known to the authors. Constantine Caesar is not mentioned at all in conjunction with this last full size follis issue. He is noted for the first time in 308 A.D. for the lighter reformed GENIO CAESARIS* folles.
RT37957. Billon follis, RIC VI Antiochia -; cf. FORVM 28162 (officina 9), gVF, flat strike reverse, weight 9.639 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 180o, 8th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, autumn 306 - spring 307 A.D.; obverse FL VAL CONSTANTINVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, nude but for chlamys on shoulders and modius on head, patera from which liquid flows in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, H right, ANT: in exergue; extremely rare; SOLD


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D., Milvian Bridge Battle Commemorative

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This very rare type commemorates the valour of Constantine's Gallic army, which fought and won the historic battle at the Milvian bridge.
SH35069. Billon half follis, RIC VI Rome 360, VF, weight 3.337 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 312 - 313 A.D.; obverse FL VAL CONSTANTINVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed; reverse VIRTVS EXERCIT GALL (the courage of the army in Gual), Virtus standing left, spear in right hand, parazonium in left hand, X - VI across fields, RQ in exergue; very rare; SOLD


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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
SH35199. Billon AE 3, RIC VI Rome 360 (R2), sharp EF, weight 2.681 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 318 - 319 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), Roma seated right on shield, shield resting on her left knee, P R across fields, RQ in exergue; rare; SOLD


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One of the earliest coins of Constantine and the largest coin portrait one can buy without selling the car.
SH21641. Billon follis, RIC VI Treveri 719b, Choice aEF, weight 7.452 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, as caesar, summer 307 A.D.; obverse FL VAL CONSTANTINVS NOB C, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse GENIO POP ROM (to the guardian spirit of the Roman people), Genio standing left, holding patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - A at sides, PTR in exergue; SOLD


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The "looking upwards" portraits of Constantine are often described as "gazing to Heaven (or God)."
RL38044. Billon centenionalis, Speck and Huston 32a, LRBC I 995, RIC VII -, VF, weight 2.779 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 328 A.D.; obverse no legend, diademed head right, gazing to Heaven; reverse CONSTANTINIANA DAFNE, Victory seated left on cippus, head right, palm frond in each hand, trophy and captive before, CONS in exergue, S left; similar coin sold for $650 + fees in 2005 in Triton VIII, lot 1248; very rare; SOLD


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In 320 A.D., Crispus, eldest son of Constantine I, led a victorious campaign against the Franks, assuring twenty years of peace along the Rhine frontier. He established his residence in Augusta Treverorum (modern Trier), capital of Germania.
GB70947. Billon reduced follis, RIC VII 194, gVF, glossy dark green patina, interesting mintmark, weight 3.310 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Rome mint, 320 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), Roma seated right, round shield against near side of seat, holding another round shield inscribed X/V in two lines; REWCP (EW ligate) in exergue; ex CNG auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 439 (sold for $320 plus fees); SOLD


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In early in December 316, to ensure his loyalty, Licinius elevated Aurelius Valerius Valens, the dux limitis (duke of the frontier) in Dacia, to the rank of Augustus. According to Petrus Patricius, when Constantine learned of this "The emperor made clear the extent of his rage by his facial expression and by the contortion of his body. Almost unable to speak, he said, 'We have not come to this present state of affairs, nor have we fought and triumphed from the ocean till where we have now arrived, just so that we should refuse to have our own brother-in-law as joint ruler because of his abominable behavior, and so that we should deny his close kinship, but accept that vile slave [Valens] with him into imperial college.'" The treaty between Constantine and Licinius was concluded at Serdica on 1 March, 317. Whether it was part of that agreement is unknown, but Licinius had Valens executed.
SH21476. Billon follis, RIC VII Trier -, see 127 note, gem aUNC, weight 3.721 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 316 - 317 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, T F at sides, •ATR in exergue; extremely rare; SOLD


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RIC describes this coin as an AE Folles (or AE3), however, this series coincides with other series from other mints, where Constantine introduced a billon argenteus denomination. Both the AE3 module and AR argenteus will be listed under the same RIC number, even though this issue begins this reverse type and was actually minted in 310 - 313 and should have appeared in RIC VI with the other billon argentei issues of Licinius I and Maximinus II.

This example appears to have a higher silver content and is not grainy like many examples of this type.
RS53613. Billon argenteus, RIC VI -, RIC VII Trier 208a (R3), Cohen VII 643 (3 Fr.), gF, weight 3.469 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 310 - 313 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, helmeted, draped and cuirassed bust left, spear in right over shoulder, mappa in left; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (joyous eternal victories of the prince), two Victories standing confronted, both holding between them a shield inscribed VOT P R in two lines, PTR in exergue; very rare; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
COMISCONSTANTINIAVG
CONSTANTINVSAG
CONSTANTINVSAVG
CONSTANTINVSCAESAR
CONSTANTINVSFILAVGG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSMAXIMAVG
CONSTANTINVSNOBC
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAESAR
CONSTANTINVSNOBILC
CONSTANTINVSNOBILIC
CONSTANTINVSPAG
CONSTANTINVSPAVG
CONSTANTINVSPAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSPFINAVG
DDNNCONSTANTINVSETLICINIVSAVGG
DIVOCONSTANTINOAVG
DIVOCONSTANTINOP
DIVCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DIVVSCONSTANTINVSAVGPATERAVGG
DNCONSTANTINVSAVG
DNCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
DNCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSFILAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAESAR
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBILC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBILIC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
FLVALERCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
FLVALERIVSCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFINVAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINOPFINVAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPFINVAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSAG
IMPCONSTANTINVSAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSINAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIINAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIVSFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIVSFELIXAVG
INVICTVSCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG


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. 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 émissions monétaires d'Arles (4th -5th Siècles). Moneta 6. (Wetteren, 1996).
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).
King, C. & D. 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. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine...Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 2011).
Speck, R. & S. Huston. Constantine's Dafne Coinage at Constantinople. (San Francisco, 1992).
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 Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Constantine the Great