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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Crisis and Decline ▸ Valerian IView Options:  |  |  |   

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 a 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., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Ephesus. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77249. Bronze AE 33, SNG Hunterian 1957 (same dies); cf. Franke-Nolle, type VII, 736 (Vs. A/Rs. -, unlisted reverse die); BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, large edge split, potentially active corrosion, weight 17.950 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 190o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse A K Π Λ OVAΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩ-N K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head, holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, with two supports, flanked by a stag on each side, NE/OK/O in three lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77255. Bronze AE 30, cf. Franke-Nolle, type VI, 848 ff. var. (Vs.C/Rs.-, unlisted reverse die); SNGvA 3668; SNG Tübingen 4054; Lindgren III 596, aF, obverse rough, weight 10.243 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AY• K• - ΠOY• ΛIK• OYAΛEPAN/OC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverse IEPAΠOΛE/ITΩN - KE - CAP∆IANΩN NEWK/OPΩN, Apollo on left, standing right, plectrum in right hand, kithara in left hand; cult statue of Kore facing, wearing kalathos and veil, OMONOYA in exergue; very rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus

Click for a larger photo
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Ephesus. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77245. Bronze AE 32, Franke-Nolle, type VII, 743 (Vs. B/ Rs. 39); cf. BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Hunterian 1957; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, slightly ragged flan, potentially active corrosion, weight 10.522 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AV• KE• - ΠOV ΛIK OYA/ΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis from which two snakes rise; reverse IEPAΠOΛEI/TΩN - K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, resting each hand on the head of a stag, one stag flanking on each side, NEΩ/KO/PΩ/N in four lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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Lucifer means lightbringer, from the Latin lux light and ferre to bear or bring. The word Lucifer is found in only one place in the Bible -- Isaiah 14:12 -- but only in the King James and related versions: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! The King James Version is based on the Vulgate, the Latin translation of Jerome. Jerome translated the Hebrew helel (bright or brilliant one) as lucifer, which was a reasonable Latin equivalent. And yet it is this lucifer, the bright one or lightbearer, that came to be understood by so many as the name for Satan, Lord of Darkness.
RS64727. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1560d, SRCV III 9935, Cunetio 812 (3 spec.), RIC V-1 212 (S, Mediolanum), RSC IV 51 (Viminacium), Hunter IV - (p. xxxviii), VF, well centered and struck on a compact flan, light toning, porosity., weight 3.946 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 254 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust left; reverse DIANA LVCIFERA, Diana standing right, holding flaming long torch transverse in both hands; rare; $75.00 (€63.75)
 


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

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Astarte, called "Ashtroth" in Scripture, was the favorite goddess of the Sidonians, Tyrians, Philistines, and Syro-Phoenicians generally. She was associated with the Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus Genetrix, being believed by the ancients to be the goddess of generation, as well as of beauty. Astarte was chiefly worshiped and appears on the coins of Berytus, Bostra, Sidon, and Tyre. Her image is of a young woman, wearing a tall headdress; and clothed in a tunic, high in the neck- sometimes, not reaching lower than the knees, or sometimes with a longer dress, but with one knee exposed, and one foot planted on a galley's prow.
RP77850. Bronze AE 29, Baramki AUB 283; BMC Phoenicia p. 287, 453 corr. (rev. leg.); SNG Hunterian 3431 var. (palm and murex reversed, etc.); Lingren-Kovacs 2396; SNG Cop -, F, green patina with lighter highlighting fields, reverse slightly off center, weight 14.794 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse COL - TY-RO - MET, hexastyle temple, Tyche-Astarte standing facing within under central arch, wearing tall headdress and short tunic, right hand on trophy standing to her left, transverse long scepter in left hand, left foot on galley, being crowned by Nike on short column to her right; tree, altar, and murex shell from left to right in exergue; rare; $70.00 (€59.50)
 


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Saturn was an ancient Roman god of fertility, especially of agriculture and usually carries a sickle as his symbol. Saturn was worshiped in a winter festival called the Saturnalia and his name was and is used for the day of the week, Saturday.
RS64728. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1559a, RIC V-1 210 (S, Viminacium), RSC IV 8, Cunetio 801 (8 spec.), SRCV III 9922, Hunter IV - (p. xxxviii), aVF/F, toned, well centered, reverse soft strike, minor encrustations, porosity, tiny edge split, weight 4.569 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 254 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNITATI AVGG, Saturn standing right slightly right, head right, holding scythe in left hand; scarce; $60.00 (€51.00)
 


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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.
RS64723. Silver antoninianus, RIC V-1 219 (Viminacium), RSC IV 155, Göbl MIR 1563a, Cunetio 818 (8 spec.), SRCV III 9956, Hunter IV - (p. xxxviii), VF, toned, porous, reverse off center, edge cracks, weight 3.007 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 254 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse PIETATI AVGG (to the piety of our two emperors), Pietas standing left, long scepter in right hand, leaning with left elbow on short column; $45.00 (€38.25)
 


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Saturn was an ancient Roman god of fertility, especially of agriculture and usually carries a sickle as his symbol. Saturn was worshiped in a winter festival called the Saturnalia and his name was and is used for the day of the week, Saturday.
RS90043. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1559a, RIC V-1 210 (S, Viminacium), RSC IV 8, Cunetio 801 (8 spec.), SRCV III 9922, Hunter IV - (p. xxxviii), F, good portrait, well centered, horn silver deposits, porous, edge crack, weight 3.355 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 254 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNITATI AVGG, Saturn standing right slightly right, head right, holding scythe in left hand; scarce; $45.00 (€38.25)
 


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Virtus to the ancient Romans included valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Curiously, despite the masculine characteristics of virtus, the personification or deity Virtus was usually depicted as a female warrior, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can usually be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.
RS64724. Silver antoninianus, Göbl 887d, Bourdel 391, Eauze 1458, Elmer 76, RIC V -, Hunter IV -, OCRE -, SRCV III -, F, centered on a crowded flan, toned, weight 3.554 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Gallia Belgica, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 1st emission, autumn 258 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Virtus standing half left, Victory in extended right hand, inverted spear in left hand, no shield; very rare - Not in RIC!; $40.00 (€34.00)
 


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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.
RS90005. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1687e (Samosata), SRCV III 9995, RIC V-1 293 (Antioch), RSC IV 276 (Antioch), Hunter IV 76, Cunetio 851 (39 spec.), aVF, slightly off center, porous/grainy, weight 4.090 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Syria mint, 255 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Valerian and Gallienus standing confronted; Valerian on left, scepter in right hand, globe in left hand; Gallienus on right offering Victory to Valerian, transverse spear in left hand; $38.00 (€32.30)
 




  



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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. & R. Bland. The Cunetio Treasure: Roman Coinage of the Third Century AD. (London, 1983).
Bourdel, B. Les Antoniniens emis sous le regne conjoint des empereurs Valerien et Gallien, Mariniane, Salonine, Valerien II, Salonin (253-260 Apr. J.-C.). (2017).
Burnett, A. & R. Bland, eds. Coin Hoards from Roman Britain: The Normanby Hoard and Other Roman Coin Hoards. (London, 1988).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. Two: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 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., E. Sydenham & P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part I, Valerian to Florian. (London, 1927).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Schaad, D. & J. Lafaurie. Le trésor d'Eauze. (Toulouse, 1992).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. 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).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Monday, December 10, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Valerian I