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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Crisis and Decline ▸ GallienusView Options:  |  |  |     

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

Gallienus was co-emperor with his father Valerian from 253, then ruled alone after his father's capture by Parthia in 260. Ruling during the Crisis of the Third Century that nearly caused the collapse of the empire, he repelled wave after wave of barbarian invaders, but he was unable to prevent the secession of important provinces. Gallienus presided over a late flowering of Roman culture, patronizing poets, artists and philosophers. He was assassinated by his own soldiers in 268 while besieging Milan.


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This coin was dedicated to the fidelity of the Pretorian Guard or perhaps to "the leaders." In either case, in the end, Gallienus lost the fidelity of his guard and officers. He was ambushed and murdered by his own men. The future emperors Claudius Gothicus and Aurelian were likely both involved in the conspiracy leading to his assassination.
RA90710. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 518d, RIC V S568 (Siscia), RSC IV 216 (Siscia), SRCV III 10211, Hunter IV p. lx, Normanby -, VF/F, nice portrait, well centered, ragged tight flan cutting off the tops of legend letters, flan cracks, some corrosion, weight 2.035 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 262 - 263 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse FIDEI PRAET, legionary aquila (eagle) between two legionary standards, the standards on the left topped with a wreath, the standards on the right topped with an open hand; RIC lists this type as common but market evidence clearly indicates it is rare; rare; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


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In 257 A.D. the Franks invaded Gaul, reaching as far as Spain, where they destroyed Terraco (Tarragona). Also, the Alamanii invaded Italy, but Gallienus defeated them near Milan. In 258, Gallienus created a permanent mobile army from a number of cavalry vexillations to act as a standing reserve force.
RS64095. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 879l, RSC IV 895, RIC V J29, SRCV III 10339, VF, weight 3.505 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 257 - 258 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS • P • F • AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTIT GALLIAR, Gallienus standing half left, in military dress, cloaked, spear in left, raising kneeling Gallia with right; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius 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.
RA71411. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1354i, RIC V S512, Cohen V 932, SRCV III -, EF, no wear but small areas of light corrosion, well centered on tight flan, weight 3.373 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS AVG, Salus standing right, feeding snake in right from patera in left, MS in exergue; $135.00 (€118.80)
 


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This coin was dedicated to Gallienus' good relations with the army. Gallienus eventually fell out of harmony with his guard and officers. He was ambushed and murdered by his own men. The future emperors Claudius Gothicus and Aurelian were likely both involved in the conspiracy leading to his assassination.
SH77278. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 15u, RIC V J132, RSC IV 131a, SRCV III 10190, Hunter IV J3, Choice VF, excellent portrait, good metal, well centered, ragged flan, flatly struck centers, weight 3.700 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 254 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse CONCORDIAE EXERCIT (Harmony with the army), Concordia standing facing, head left, patera in right hand, double cornucopia in left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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RIC lists this type as common, but Göbl lists only a single specimen, and Coin archives lists only one from the first officina and none from the second.
RA71050. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1212f (1 example), RIC V S494, Cohen V 686, Cunetio -, VF, uneven toning, light corrosion, weight 1.781 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 266 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse ORIENS AVG, Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left, S in exergue; rare; $125.00 (€110.00)
 


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In 257, Valerian's persecution of Christians began. His edict ordered bishops and priests to sacrifice according to the pagan rituals, and prohibited Christians, under penalty of death, from meeting at the tombs of their deceased.
RS67084. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 870f, RIC V J22 (Lugdunum), RSC IV 397 (Lugdunum), SRCV III 10246, VF, full circles strike, grainy, weight 4.421 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 45o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 257 A.D.; obverse IMP GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI VICTORI, Jupiter standing slightly left on cippus inscribed IMP C E S (Imperator cum exercitu suo - the Emperor with his army), Victory in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


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Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored those in positions of authority similar to his own. For a time at least, it appears Jupiter favored Gallienus. He ruled for another 14 years, which was a long reign in the age of the Thirty Pretenders. Alas, it seems every emperor eventually fell from favor since none of them are alive today.
RA64622. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 26u, RIC V J143, RSC IV 377, SRCV III 10241, VF, toned, centered, flat centers, weight 3.501 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Aug 253 - Aug 254 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI, Jupiter standing facing, nude but for cloak behind, head left, thunderbolt in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus, were the twin sons of the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia, fathered by the god of war, Mars. They were abandoned in the Tiber as infants. Faustulus, a shepherd, found the infants being suckled by the she-wolf (Lupa) at the foot of the Palatine Hill. Their cradle, in which they had been abandoned, was on the shore overturned under a fig tree. Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. Romulus was the first King of Rome.
RA73653. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1628c, RSC IV 46b, RIC V S628, Hunter IV S194, SRCV III 10171 var. (cuirassed bust left), gVF, full circles strike on a broad flan, much silvering, porous, weight 3.435 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch mint, 264 - 265 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate and draped bust right, seen from behind; reverse AETERNITAS AVG, she-wolf standing right, head left, the twins Romulus and Remus suckling below, palm branch right in exergue; $85.00 (€74.80)
 


Salonina, Augusta 254 - c. September 268 A.D., Wife of Gallienus

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The empire is history but Rome is still today, the Eternal City.

During the Early Middle Ages, the population fell to a mere 20,000, reducing the sprawling city to groups of inhabited buildings interspersed among large areas of ruins and vegetation.
RL74575. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1605c (7 spec.), RIC V J67; RSC IV 103, SRCV III 10651 var. (star or wreath above, uncertain Syrian mint), Hunter IV J35 ff. var. (same), VF, very broad flan, small flan crack, weight 2.817 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse SALONINA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges and in plait looped below ear up the back of head, thin crescent behind shoulders; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE, emperor on left standing right, receiving Victory from Roma, seated left, spear vertical behind in her left hand, grounded shield behind against her near side; $85.00 (€74.80)
 


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Virtus is the personification of valor and courage. Valor was, of course, essential for the success of a Roman emperor and Virtus was one of the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult. During his joint reign with his father, Gallienus proved his courage in battle; but his failure to liberate his father from Persian captivity was perceived as cowardice and a disgrace to the Emperor and Empire. It was not, however, actually fear that prevented a rescue. While others mourned Valerian's fate, Gallienus rejoiced in his new sovereignty.
RA77437. Silvered antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1666k, RIC V S612, Cohen V 1245, SRCV III 10403, Choice EF, near full silvering with some luster, excellent centering, parts of legends weak, slight porosity, weight 3.567 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVG, Soldier standing right, spear vertical behind with point up in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, PXV in exergue; $85.00 (€74.80)
 




    



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

IMPCAESGALLIENVSAVG
IMPCGALLIENVSPFAVG
IMPCPLICGALLIENVSAVG
IMPCPLICGALLIENVSPFAVG
IMPGALLIENVSAVG
IMPGALLIENVSAVGCOSV
IMPGALLIENVSAVGGER
IMPGALLIENVSAVGGERM
IMPBALLIENVSFAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPAVGGERM
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVGGERM
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVGGERS
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVGG
IMPGALLIENVSPFAVGGM
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFEL
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFELAVG
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFELAVGGERM
IMPGALLIENVSPIVSFELIXAVG
IMPGALLIENVSVAVG
IMPPLICGALLIENVSAVG
IMPPLICGALLIENVSPFAVG
GALLIENAEAVGVSTAE
GALLIENVMAVGPR
GALLIENVMAVGSENATVS
GALLIENVMPRINC
GALLIENVMSENATVS
GALLIENVSAVG
GALLIENVSAVGGERM
GALLIENVSAVGGERMV
GALLIENVSPAVG
GALLIENVSPFAVG
GALLIENVSPFAVGGERM
GALLIENVSPIVSAVG
GALLIENVSPIVSFAVG
GALLIENVSPIVSFELIXAVG



REFERENCES

Besly, E. & R. Bland. The Cunetio Treasure: Roman Coinage of the Third Century AD. (London, 1983).
Burnett, A. & R. F. 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, 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. & 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 Monday, May 02, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Gallienus