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Home>Catalog>RomanCoins>CrisisandDecline>ValerianI

Valerian I, October 253 -c. June 260 A.D.

Valerian I was proclaimed emperor after the death of Trajan Decius. He successfully repulsed many barbarian incursions but the standard of living declined and would never recover. In 260 A.D., after four years of war during which Roman forces suffered great losses in battle and to plague, he arranged for peace talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian emperor Sapor and was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown, but in Rome it was rumored that he had been murdered and that Sapor was using his stuffed body as a footstool.


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Parium, Mysia
Click for a larger photo Located near Lampsacus, Parium belonged to the Delian League. In the Hellenistic period it was in the domain of Lysimachus and then the Attalid dynasty. Julius Caesar refounded it as a colonia within the province of Asia. After Asia was divided in the 4th century, it was in the province of Hellespontus.
RP70938. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 304; SNGvA 1343; BMC Mysia p. 108, 116, VF, perfect centering, struck with a damaged obverse die, weight 4.774 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Parium mint, obverse IMP VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate,draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse Capricorn swimming right, holding celestial globe between legs, cornucopia on back, CGIHP below; ex Russian Coins; $450.00 (€391.50)

Click for a larger photo Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes. Vulcan is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. The festival of Vulcan, the Vulcanalia was celebrated on 23 August each year, when the summer heat placed crops and granaries at the greatest risk of burning. The Romans identified Vulcan with the Greek smith-god Hephaestus, and he became associated like his Greek counterpart with the constructive use of fire in metalworking.
RA65670. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 884d, RIC V 5, SRCV V 9934, RSC IV 50c corr. (not cuirassed), F, uneven strike, flan cracks, weight 2.296 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 225o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 2nd emission, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse DEO VOLKANO, Vulcan standing left within hexastyle temple, hammer raised in right hand, tongs downward in left, anvil on ground at feet left; rare; $80.00 (€69.60)

Click for a larger photo In 256 A.D., the cities in the Roman Empire begin to build walls as the defense of the frontiers collapsed. The Goths invaded Asia Minor, Dacia was lost, and they appeared at the walls of Thessalonica. The Franks crossed the Rhine. The Alamanni penetrated to Milan. In Africa, the Berbers massacred Roman colonists. King Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia and Syria and plundered Antioch, Zeugma, and Dura-Europos.
BB57680. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1687e, SRCV III 9995 (uncertain Syrian mint), RIC V 293 (Antioch), Cohen 276, VF, weight 4.155 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, Samosata (Adiyman Province. Turkey) mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG, Valerian and Gallienus standing facing; Valerian on left, scepter in right, globe in left; Gallienus on right offering Victory to Valerian, transverse spear in left; $45.00 (€39.15)

Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Koinon of Thessaly
Click for a larger photo The Thessalian League was a loose confederacy of city-states and tribes in the Thessalian valley in Northern Greece. Philip II of Macedon took control of Thessaly in 344 B.C and it remained under Macedonia until the Roman victory in 197 B.C. The league was reestablished in 196 B.C. but had little autonomy after Thessaly became part of the province of Macedonia in 146 B.C.
RP63376. Bronze tetrassarion, cf. BCD Thessaly 988.1, Rogers 124, SNG Cop -, BMC Thessaly -, F, weight 7.560 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, obverse AV K ΠOΛI-O VAΛEPIANOC, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse KOINON ΘECCAΛΩ−N, Athena Itonia advancing right, wearing helmet and aegis, hurling spear overhead with right, shield on left arm, ∆ (4 assaria) in left field; scarce; $45.00 (€39.15)

Click for a larger photo Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people, and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS64726. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1684l (Samosata), RIC V 285 (Antioch), RSC IV 152, SRCV III 9955 (uncertain Syrian mint), VF, weight 3.930 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Syrian mint, 256 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse PIETAS AVGG, Valerian and Gallienus standing confronted, sacrificing over altar between them, each togate and holding short scepter; $45.00 (€39.15)

Click for a larger photo This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool.

RIC assigns this issue to Antioch but MIR gives the issue to a second Eastern mint located at Samosata.
RS40244. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1700l (Samosata), RIC V 287 (Antioch), SRCV III 9967 (uncertain Syrian mint), gVF, weight 3.614 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Syrian mint, 258 - 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORIENTIS, turreted female (the Orient) presenting wreath to the Emperor standing left holding spear, pellet in wreath above; $36.00 (€31.32)

Click for a larger photo This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool.

RIC assigns this issue to Antioch but MIR gives the issue to a second Eastern mint located at Samosata.
RS40231. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1700q (Samosata), RIC V 287 (Antioch), SRCV III 9967 (uncertain Syrian mint), aVF, weight 3.496 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 180o, Syrian mint, 258 - 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORIENTIS, turreted female (the Orient) presenting wreath to the Emperor standing left holding spear, star above; $27.00 (€23.49)

Click for a larger photo  
BB58175. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 222, Cohen 212, aVF, weight 2.927 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Viminacium (near Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, 254 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VENVS VICTRIX, Venus standing left holding helmet and transverse scepter, resting on shield; Viminacium (near Stari Kostolac, Serbia); $22.00 (€19.14) ON RESERVE


ITEMS PER PAGE 13510203050



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

CONCORDIAAVGVSTORVM
PIETASAVGVSTORVM
FELICIBVSAVGG
IMPCAESPLICVALERIANVSAVG
IMPCPLICVALERIANOAVG
IMPCPLICVALERIANVSAVG
IMPCPLICVALERIANVSPAVG
IMPCPLICVALERIANVSPFAVG
IMPCVALERIANVSPFAVG
IMPPLICVALERIANOAVG
IMPVALERIANVSAVG
IMPVALERIANVSPAVG
IMPVALERIANVSPFAVG
IMPVALERIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPVALERIANVSPIVSFELAVG
VALERIANVSPFAVG


REFERENCES

Besly, E. and R. Bland. The Cunetio Treasure: Roman Coinage of the Third Century AD. (London, 1983).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l’Empire Romain, Volume 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Elmer, G. "Die Münzprägung der gallischen Kaiser von Postumus bis Tetricus in Köln, Trier und Mailand." in Bonner Jahrbücher 146 (1941).
Göbl, R. et al. Moneta Imperii Romani, Band 35: Die Münzprägung des Kaiser Valerianus I/Gallienus/Saloninus (253/268), Regalianus (260) un Macrianus/Quietus (260/262). (Vienna, 2000).
Mattingly, H., Sydenham and Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part I, Valerian to Florian. (London, 1927).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Seaby, H.A. and Sear, D.R. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume Three, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).

Catalog current as of Thursday, February 26, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Valerian I