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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Constantinian Era ▸ Constantius IIView Options:  |  |  |   

Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

The longest lived of Constantine the Great's sons and successors, he ruled until 361 A.D. Upon Constantine's death, Constantius received the entire eastern empire as his inheritance. Soon after he added Thrace to his empire and as his brothers were killed, he annexed their territories. When he defeated the Western usurper Magnentius he was master of the entire empire. Although he started campaigning along the Danube, war with Persia forced his return to the East. Shortly after, he received news that Julian II had been proclaimed Augustus against him. Constantius died on his way to fight this new usurper and Julian II became ruler of the Roman Empire.


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In 312 A.D., Constantine dreamed he saw a Christogram in the sky and heard the words IN HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, meaning in Latin "In this sign you will be the victor." He ordered the sign of Christ on his legions standards and shields. He won a great victory and later became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
RL90728. Billon maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 284 (S), LRBC II 1171, Voetter 48, SRCV V 18903, Cohen VIII 1, gVF, oval flan, encrustation, flan split, weight 5.040 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, issued by Vetranio, 1 Mar - 25 Dec 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right, A behind, star in front; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM, Constantius standing half-left, in military dress, labarum (Chi-Rho standard) in each hand, A left, star above, •ΓSIS• in exergue; scarce; $280.00 (€246.40)
 


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In 312 A.D., Constantine dreamed he saw a Christogram in the sky and heard the words IN HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, meaning in Latin "In this sign you will be the victor." He ordered the sign of Christ on his legions standards and shields. He won a great victory and later became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
RL90446. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 286 (S), LRBC II 1173, Voetter 51, SRCV V 18203, VF, well centered, slightly rough green patina, coppery high-points, weight 4.749 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, issued by Vetranio, 1 Mar - 25 Dec 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right, A behind, star before; reverse HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, Constantius standing facing head left, holding labarum (Chi Rho Christogram standard) and spear, Victory right crowning him, A left, •ASIS• in exergue (A's often appear as H in this period); scarce; $240.00 (€211.20)
 


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The labarum, was a type of Roman cavalry standard, a vexillum with a military ensign marked with the Christogram (Greek monogram of Christ). It was an object of religious veneration amongst the soldiers, who paid it divine honors.
RL76208. Billon light maiorina, RIC VIII Nicomedia 67, LRBC II 2289, SRCV V 18232, Cohen VII 39, Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, some silvering, weight 4.213 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 348 - 351 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust left, globe in right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), emperor standing left, labarum in right hand, resting left hand on shield, stepping on two kneeling barbarians, SMNΓ in exergue; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


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In 312 A.D., Constantine dreamed he saw a Christogram in the sky and heard the words IN HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, meaning in Latin "In this sign you will be the victor." He ordered the sign of Christ on his legions standards and shields. He won a great victory and later became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
RL73908. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 286 (S), LRBC II 1173, Voetter 51, SRCV V 18203, VF, well centered and struck, nice green patina, spots of corrosion on the obverse, small edge cracks, weight 4.277 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, issued by Vetranio, 1 Mar - 25 Dec 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right, A behind, star before; reverse HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, Constantius standing facing head left, holding labarum (Chi Rho Christogram standard) and spear, Victory right crowning him, A left, •ΓSIS• in exergue; scarce; $165.00 (€145.20)
 


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In 326, Constantine the Great traveled to Rome to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his accession to power. While en route at Pola he give an order to execute his older son, Crispus Caesar, possibly on charges of adultery. Fausta, second wife of Constantine I, was also executed, suffocated in a hot bath. Helena told her son Constantine that he must atone for executing his son and wife by building churches. At about this date construction began on Old St. Peter's Basilica, the first church on the traditional site of Saint Peter's tomb in Rome, and on the basilica of Golgotha on Calvary outside Jerusalem.
RL76193. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Heraclea 84, LRBC I 878, SRCV V 17642, Cohen VII 167, Choice EF, much silvering, slight porosity, weight 2.877 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 326 A.D.; obverse FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust left; reverse PROVIDENTIAE CAESS, campgate with two turrets, star above, SMHE• in exergue; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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The Christogram, a ligature of Chi (X) and Rho (P), the first two letters of Christ in Greek, was an early symbol for Christianity. The crucifix was rarely used in early Christian iconography, perhaps because most people then had personally witnessed its gruesome use for public execution.
RL73692. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Siscia 180, SRCV IV 18021, LRBC I 788, Cohen VII -, gVF, nice green patina, earthen encrustation, weight 1.810 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 342 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-S P F AVG, rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTOR-IA AVGG, Victory walking left, looking right, holding wreath in each hand, Chi-Rho in right field, *ASIS* in exergue; rare type; $145.00 (€127.60)
 


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Constantius II, unlike his father, allowed Christians to persecute pagans and Jews. Christian clergy inspired angry crowds, which attacked and destroyed synagogues and temples. On 7 May 351, a Jewish revolt broke out in Palestine. The rebels destroyed the Roman garrison in a surprise night attack and acquired the garrison's weapons. The rebels destroyed Diopolis and Tiberias and killed the people of different ethnicities, including Greeks and Samaritans. In 352, Constantius Gallus sent his general (magister equitum) Ursicinus to put down the revolt. Diocesarea, the epicenter of the revolt, was razed to the ground. Ursicinus ordered the execution of thousands of Jews, even children. After the revolt, a permanent garrison was stationed in Galilee.
RL90420. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Constantinople 82, LRBC II 2026, Voetter 28, SRCV V 18148, Cohen VII 44 var., gVF, excellent centering and bold strike, edge split, weight 6.037 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 348 - 351 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier advancing left, in military garb, shield on his left arm, spearing a fallen enemy horseman, who is turned toward the soldier and raising his left hand, horseman's shield on the ground to right, Γ left, CONSA* in exergue; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


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The labarum, was a type of Roman cavalry standard, a vexillum with a military ensign marked with the Christogram (Greek monogram of Christ). It was an object of religious veneration amongst the soldiers, who paid it divine honors.
RL76206. Billon light maiorina, RIC VIII Constantinople 90, LRBC II 2018, SRCV V 18231, Cohen VII 39, Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, nice green patina, weight 3.284 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, 7th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 348 - 15 Mar 351 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust left, globe in right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), emperor standing left, labarum (chi rho Christogram standard) in right, resting left on shield, two kneeling bound captives before him, Γ left, CONSZ* in exergue; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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The reverse legend can be translated, "Happy Times Restored" but we prefer to loosely translate it to the more current and lyrical expression, "Happy Days are Here Again!"
RL74561. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Thessalonica 123, LRBC II 50, SRCV V 18136, Cohen VII 46, Hunter V -, Choice VF, well centered and struck, some silvering, porous, weight 4.428 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right, from the front, A behind; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier standing left, with right hand spearing horseman whose mount has fallen, shield on his left arm, shield on the ground right, A left, TS∆ in exergue; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


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Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared the nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa in the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RL74562. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Nicomedia 84, LRBC II 2300, Voetter 25, SRCV V 18159, Cohen VII 46, aEF, porous, reverse slightly soft, small edge crack, weight 6.714 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 351 - 352 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier standing left spearing fallen horseman, Γ left, SMN∆ in exergue; $90.00 (€79.20)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

CONSTANTIVSAVG
CONSTANTIVSAVGVSTVS
CONSTANTIVSMAXAVG
CONSTANTIVSNOBC
CONSTANTIVSNOBCAES
CONSTANTIVSPFAVG DNCONSTANTIAVGVSTI
DNCONSTANTIVSAVG
DNCONSTANTIVSMAXAVG
DNCONSTANTIVSNOBCAES
DNCONSTANTIVSPERPAVG
DNCONSTANTIVSPFAVG
FLACONSTANTIVSNOBC
FLIVLCONSTANTIVSAVG
FLIVLCONSTANTIVSNOBC
FLIVLCONSTANTIVSNOBCAES
FLIVLCONSTANTIVSPERPAVG
FLIVLCONSTANTIVSPFAVG
FLIVLCONSTANTIVSPIVSFELIXAVG


REFERENCES

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 Constantin II à Zenon (337-491). Moneta 5. (Wetteren, 1996).
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).
Paolucci, R. & A. Zub. La monetazione di Aquileia Romana. (Padova, 2000).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine...Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 211).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. V: The Christian Empire: The Later Constantinian Dynasty...Constantine II to Zeno, AD 337 - 491. (London, 2014).
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 Sunday, May 01, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Constantius II