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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 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., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Dido, the founder and first queen of Carthage, is primarily known from Virgil's Aeneid. Upon succeeding their father as king of Tyre, Dido's brother Pygmalion had her husband Sichaeus killed in a plot to seize his immense wealth. Dido, with a large group of friends and followers, escaped Tyre, carrying with them all of Sichaeus' treasure. As depicted on the reverse of this coin, Dido made a sacrifice at the temple of Melqart-Hercules before leaving. The reverse on some other Valerian types, we know of one example struck with this same obverse die, depict Dido in Carthage beginning construction.
RP75357. Bronze dichalkon, Unpublished in the many references examined by Forum, cf. SNG Righetti 2354 (radiate and cuirassed bust), Rouvier 2503 (same), VF, well centered, porous, flan adjustment marks, weight 11.064 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP CP LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse COL TVRO MET, Dido standing right, kalathos on head, extending both hands toward a distyle temple of Melqart-Hercules in perspective to upper right, club within the temple, flaming column altar at her feet, murex shell on right below temple; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection; the best of the few examples of the type known to Forum; extremely rare; $990.00 (€881.10)
 


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

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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; $400.00 (€356.00)
 


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In 253, Valerian split the Roman Empire in two; Gallienus took control of the West and his father ruled the East, facing the Persians.
RL74574. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1682e (Samosata), RIC V 294 (Antioch), SRCV III 9996 (uncertain Syrian mint, 255- 256), RSC IV 280, Choice VF, well centered and struck, porous, weight 3.181 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, Samosata (Adiyman Province, Turkey) mint, 253 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse VOTA ORBIS, two Victories holding shield inscribed S C, palm tree in center behind; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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Oriens is Latin for "east." Literally it means "rising" from orior, "rise." The use of the word for "rising" to refer to the east (where the sun rises) has analogs from many languages: compare the terms "Levant" (French levant "rising"), "Anatolia" (Greek anatole), "mizrahi" in Hebrew (from "zriha" meaning sunrise), "sharq" in Arabic, and others. The Chinese pictograph for east is based on the sun rising behind a tree and "The Land of the Rising Sun" to refers to Japan. Also, many ancient temples, including the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, were built with their main entrances facing the East. To situate them in such a manner was to "orient" them in the proper direction. When something is facing the correct direction, it is said to have the proper "orientation."
RS64718. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 868h, RIC V 12, RSC IV 143a, Hunter IV 53, SRCV III 9952, VF, excellent portrait, toned, well centered on a tight, slightly oval flan, deposits, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.908 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 257 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVGG, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand; $85.00 (€75.65)
 


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This type imitates the Caius and Lucius Caesar reverse of Augustus. It refers to the joint consulate of Valerian and Gallienus in 257 A.D.
RS76533. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 277 (S, Antioch), RSC IV 169, Göbl MIR 1598a (Antioch), Hunter IV 70, SRCV III 9962, gVF, good metal for the type, slightly off center, edge crack, weight 3.615 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, eastern field mint, 257 A.D.; obverse IMP VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P V COS IIII P P, Valerian and Gallienus standing confronted, laureate and togate, holding two shields on the ground between them, two spears upright behind shields; scarce; $65.00 (€57.85)
 


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The Greeks and Romans did not view snakes as evil creatures but rather as symbols and tools for healing and fertility. Asclepius, the son of Apollo and Koronis, learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
RS64693. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 825c, RIC V 253 (S), RSC IV 202b, SRCV III 9974, Hunter IV - (p. xxxvii), Cunetio 774 (4 spec.), VF, weak centers, weight 3.402 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, Viminacium (near Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, 2nd emission, 253 - 254 A.D.; obverse IMP VALERIANVS P AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse SALVS AVGG, Salus standing right, feeding snake in right hand from patera in left hand; scarce; $55.00 (€48.95)
 


Click for a larger photo
Oriens is Latin for "east." Literally it means "rising" from orior, "rise." The use of the word for "rising" to refer to the east (where the sun rises) has analogs from many languages: compare the terms "Levant" (French levant "rising"), "Anatolia" (Greek anatole), "mizrahi" in Hebrew (from "zriha" meaning sunrise), "sharq" in Arabic, and others. The Chinese pictograph for east is based on the sun rising behind a tree and "The Land of the Rising Sun" to refers to Japan. Also, many ancient temples, including the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, were built with their main entrances facing the East. To situate them in such a manner was to "orient" them in the proper direction. When something is facing the correct direction, it is said to have the proper "orientation."
RS90048. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 75c, RIC V 106, RSC IV 135, Hunter IV 31, SRCV III 9950, VF/gF, well centered, light toning, porous, weight 2.733 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 255 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVGG, Sol standing slightly left, radiate head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand; $50.00 (€44.50)
 


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

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Anazarbus was founded by Assyrians. Under the early Roman empire it was known as Caesarea, and was the Metropolis (capital) of the late Roman province Cilicia Secunda. It was the home of the poet Oppian. Rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justin I after an earthquake in the 6th century, it became Justinopolis (525); but the old native name persisted, and when Thoros I, king of Lesser Armenia, made it his capital early in the 12th century, it was known as Anazarva.

On the reverse of this coin, Anazarbus boasts T A M K T (TIMΩTATH ΠPΩTH MEΓIΣTH KAΛΛIΣTH), meaning Most Esteemed (or Honored), First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful. According to Ziegler (p. 124), the Γ Γ means,"[chairman of] 3 [provinces], [holder of] 3 [neocorates]."
RP78015. Bronze tetrassaria, Ziegler 826 (Vs1/Rs2, 50 specimens); SNG Levante 1516 (same dies); SNGvA 5511 (same dies); BMC Cilicia p. 39, 40; SNG Cop -; SNG BnF -, F, porous mostly bare metal surfaces, weight 8.490 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 180o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 253 - 254 A.D.; obverse AVT K Π ΛIK OVAΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse ANAZAPBOV (Z reversed), Dionysos reclining left on rump of a panther, head right, raising his hands, panther lying right with head turned back left, Γ − Γ flanking figures in fields, ET BOC (year 272) over T A M K in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $50.00 (€44.50)
 


Click for a larger photo
Oriens is Latin for "east." Literally it means "rising" from orior, "rise." The use of the word for "rising" to refer to the east (where the sun rises) has analogs from many languages: compare the terms "Levant" (French levant "rising"), "Anatolia" (Greek anatole), "mizrahi" in Hebrew (from "zriha" meaning sunrise), "sharq" in Arabic, and others. The Chinese pictograph for east is based on the sun rising behind a tree and "The Land of the Rising Sun" to refers to Japan. Also, many ancient temples, including the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, were built with their main entrances facing the East. To situate them in such a manner was to "orient" them in the proper direction. When something is facing the correct direction, it is said to have the proper "orientation."
RS64734. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 886c, RIC V 13 (Lugdunum), RSC IV 140b, Hunter IV 60, SRCV III 9951, VF, nice portrait, centered on a somewhat ragged flan, toned, edge cracks, die wear, weight 2.925 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVGG, Sol standing slightly left, head left, chlamys over shoulders, left arm and hanging down back, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand; $45.00 (€40.05)
 


Click for a larger photo
Oriens is Latin for "east." Literally it means "rising" from orior, "rise." The use of the word for "rising" to refer to the east (where the sun rises) has analogs from many languages: compare the terms "Levant" (French levant "rising"), "Anatolia" (Greek anatole), "mizrahi" in Hebrew (from "zriha" meaning sunrise), "sharq" in Arabic, and others. The Chinese pictograph for east is based on the sun rising behind a tree and "The Land of the Rising Sun" to refers to Japan. Also, many ancient temples, including the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, were built with their main entrances facing the East. To situate them in such a manner was to "orient" them in the proper direction. When something is facing the correct direction, it is said to have the proper "orientation."
RS90022. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 868h, RIC V 12, RSC IV 143a, Hunter IV 53, SRCV III 9952, VF, full circle centering on a broad oval flan, toned, green coppery deposits, porous, weight 3.835 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 45o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 257 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVGG, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand; $45.00 (€40.05)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

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


REFERENCES

Banti, A. and L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Besly, E. & R. Bland. The Cunetio Treasure: Roman Coinage of the Third Century AD. (London, 1983).
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., 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. & D.R. 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 Friday, May 27, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Valerian I