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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Crisis and Decline| ▸ |Gordian III||View Options:  |  |  |   

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.

Gordian III was the grandson of Gordian I and nephew of Gordian II. He was proclaimed Caesar shortly before the murder of Balbinus and Pupienus, and he succeeded them. Little is known about his reign. In 242 A.D. he embarked on a campaign against the Persian Kingdom which was so successful the Persians had to evacuate Mesopotamia. However, Gordian III died shortly after, through illness or the machinations of his Praetorian prefect and successor, Philip I.


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In 243, Timesitheus, Gordian's father-in-law and praetorian prefect became ill and died under suspicious circumstances. Gordian III appointed Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect.
RB76166. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 303a, Hunter III 117, Cohen V 262, SRCV III 8732, Choice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen fill, nice portrait, well centered, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 17.522 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 4th issue, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, laurel-branch in right hand, left forearm resting on lyre on back of his seat, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $110.00 (96.80)


Gordian III and Tranquillina, May 241 - 25 February 244 A.D., Singara, Mesopotamia

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In the winter of 114, Trajan's eastern campaign captured Singara, located at the northern extremity of Mesopotamia, without a fight. Rome withdrew from all Mesopotamia in 117, but Septimius Severus took city again in his the Parthian campaign of 197. He made it a strongly fortified Roman colony and the home of Legio I Parthica. Extremely arid surroundings aided its defense. During the reign of Constantius II, despite a gallant defense by the townspeople and two legions, in 360 it was captured and sacked by the Sassanids.
RP91455. Bronze AE 31, SNG Cop 256; SNG Righetti 2646; BMC Arabia p. 135, 8; Lindgren-Kovacs 2627, VF, well centered, brown patina, a couple corrosion pits at 6:00 on obverse, weight 21.738 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 180o, Singara (Sinjar, Iraq) mint, 242 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AVTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANON CAB TPANKVΛΛINA CEB, confronted busts of Gordian on left, laureate, draped, and cuirassed, and Tranquillina on right, draped and wearing stephane; reverse AVP CEΠ KOΛ CINΓAPA (Aurelia Septimia Colonia Singara), Tyche seated left on rock, wearing turreted crown, veil, mantle, and chiton, branch in right hand, left hand on rocks behind, half-length figure of river-god Mygdonius swimming left at her feet, Centaur Sagittarius shooting arrow left above; big 31mm bronze!, from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $100.00 (88.00)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Viminacium, Moesia Superior

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Viminacium was a Roman Colony founded by Gordian III in 239 A.D. The usual legend is P.M.S. COL. VIM., abbreviating Provinciae Moesiae Superioris Colonia Viminacium. The usual type is a female personification of Moesia standing between a lion and a bull. The bull and the lion were symbols of the Legions VII and IV, which were quartered in the province.
RP92877. Bronze AE 29, H-J Viminacium 12 (R2); AMNG I/I 83; BMC Thrace p. 16, 12; SNG Cop 144; Varbanov I -, Choice aVF, well centered, slight porosity, weight 19.615 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 0o, Viminacium (Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M S COL VIM, Moesia standing facing, head left, extending hands over bull on left standing right and lion on right standing left, AN IIII (year 4 of the Viminacium colonial era) in exergue; $100.00 (88.00)


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Laetitia is the Roman goddess of gaiety and joy, her name deriving from the root word laeta, meaning happy. She is typically depicted on coinage with a wreath in her right hand, and a scepter, a rudder, or an anchor in her left hand.
RB92990. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 300a, Cohen V 122, Banti 38, Hunter III 140, SRCV III 8712, aVF, green patina, squared patina, scratch on reverse, weight 21.349 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, late 240 - early 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse LAETITIA AVG N (the joy of our Emperor), Laetitia standing facing, head left, wreath in right hand, anchor in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low in field; $100.00 (88.00)


Kingdom of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Abgar X with Gordian III, 242 - 243 A.D.

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Abgar X Frahad bar Manu was raised to the throne when Gordian III recovered Mesopotamia from the Persians. His rule and the Kingdom of Edessa both ended with Gordian's assassination and a Sassanid takeover in 244 A.D.
GB88990. Bronze AE 24, BMC Arabia p. 115, 148; Babelon Edessa 97; cf. SNG Cop 225 (draped and cuirassed), SNG Hunterian 2579 (same), aVF, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, porous, weight 9.952 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, laureate bust of Gordian III right, slight drapery on left shoulder, star lower right; reverse ABΓAPOC BACIΛEYC, draped bust of Abgar right, bearded, wearing a diademed Parthian-style tiara, star behind; ex Dmitry Markov Coins & Medals; $90.00 (79.20)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Deultum, Thrace

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Vespasian founded Deultum, settled with veterans of Legio VIII Augusta, on the west coast of Lake Mandren between Anchialus and Apollonia.
RP92880. Brass AE 22, Draganov Deultum 1414 (O138/R110), CN Online Deultum CN_17048, Jurukova 307, Varbanov II 2567 (R3), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, VF, well centered, porosity, central depressions, weight 7.532 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Deultum (Debelt, Bulgaria) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse COL FL PAC DEVLT, eagle standing slightly right, head right with wreath in beak; $90.00 (79.20)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Thessalonica, Macedonia

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The god Kabeiros is similar in appearance to Dionysos and the rites of his cult were likely similar to those of the Dionysian mysteries. The attributes of Kabeiros are a rhyton and hammer.
RP83493. Bronze AE 26, Touratsoglou p. 262, 25 (V2/R20), Varbanov III 4545 (R3), SNG Hunterian 714, SNG Cop 426, SNG Evelpidis 1348, BMC Macedonia p. 124, 116, aVF, excellent portrait, green patina, large central dimple on obverse, bumps and marks, some light corrosion, weight 9.207 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AV K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ΘECCAΛONIKEΩN, Nike advancing left, Kabeiros holding hammer in her right hand, palm frond in her left hand; $80.00 (70.40)


Koinon of Macedonia, Portrait of Alexander the Great, c. 238 - 244 A.D.

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The Macedonian Koinon (community) was the political organization governing the autonomous Roman province of Macedonia and was responsible for issuing coinage. The individual cities, as members of the Koinon, sent representatives to participate in popular assembly several times each year.

The high point of the year was celebrations and matches in honor of Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor held in Beroea (modern Verria) located about 75 km. west of Thessaloniki. This was the provincial center of the emperor cult, with the appropriate temple and privileges, first granted to the Koinon by Nerva. The title Neokoros, or "temple guardians" was highly prized and thus advertised on coins. Under Elagabalus, the Koinon received a second neokorie, indicated by B (the Greek number two) or rarely ∆IC (double in Greek). The title was rescinded but later restored by Severus Alexander, probably in 231 A.D.


RP89876. Bronze AE 26, AMNG III 757; BMC Macedonia -, SNG Cop -, SNG Hunter -, SNG Saroglos -, Lindgren -, Choice F, well centered, green patina, slightly rough, central depressions, weight 14.615 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 225o, Macedonia, Beroea(?) mint, time of Gordian III, c. 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse AΛEΞAN∆POC, head of Alexander the Great right, wearing lion scalp headdress (as Herakles); reverse KOINON MAKE∆ONΩNBN, two agonistic urns each containing palm on a table with lion's feet; scarce; $80.00 (70.40)


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In Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume III, David Sear notes this type was issued for the wedding of Gordian and Tranquillina.
RS92984. Silver denarius, RIC IV 129A (R), RSC IV 325, Hunter III 62, SRCV III 8681, Choice VF, full border centering on a broad flan, nice portrait, light toning, flow lines, weight 3.033 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 241 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SALVS AVGVSTI (to the health of the Emperor), Salus standing right, draped, from patera held in left hand, feeding snake held in right hand; $80.00 (70.40)


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In winter 241, Gordian III arrived at Antioch and began to prepare with his army for an offensive against the Persians. In 242, Shapur I made a preemptive attack on Antioch to drive him out. Gordian's father-in-law, Timesitheus, repeatedly defeated the Persians until, in 243, Shapur was forced to retreat back to Persia.
GS20795. Silver denarius, RIC IV 130 (R), RSC IV 340, Hunter III 65, SRCV III 8682, Choice VF, well centered, flow lines, light marks, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.174 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 241 - 242 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SECVRITAS PVBLICA (security of the public), Securitas seated left, at ease, scepter in right hand, propping head with left hand; ex Forum (2013), ex Las Vegas dealer; $80.00 (70.40)




  



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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMPCMANTGORDIANVSAVG
IMPCAESGORDIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPCAESMANTGORDIANVSAVG
IMPCAESMANTGORDIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPGORDIANVSPIVSFELAVG
IMPGORDIANVSPIVSFELIXAVG
MANTGORDIANVSCAES


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV: From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III: Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, 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, October 21, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Gordian III