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.
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Kyzikos, Mysia
Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. In 74 B.C. allied with Rome, it withstood a siege by 300,000 men led by KingMithridates VI of Pontus. Rome rewarded this loyalty with territory and with municipal independence which lasted until the reign of Tiberius. When it was incorporated into the Empire, Cyzicus was made the capital of Mysia, and afterward of Hellespontus. Gallienus opened an imperial mint at Cyzicus, which continued to strike coins well into the Byzantine era.
RP70696. Bronze AE 24, SNG Tübingen 2289, BMC Mysia -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Turkey -, SNG Hunterian -, Lindgren -, gVF, weight 8.759 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus mint, obverse AYT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassedbust left, right hand raised in greeting, scepter over shoulder in left; reverse CTPA CΩCTPATOY KYZIKH,NΩN (last three letters above center), two serpent-entwined torches, small flaming altar in center, NEΩKOPΩ in ex; ex Heritage Auctions, ex Pegasi Numismatics; extremely rare; $160.00 (€120.00)
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 cuirassedbust right; reverseRESTIT GALLIAR, Gallienus standing half left, in military dress, cloaked, spear in left, raising kneeling Gallia with right; $150.00 (€112.50)
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 cuirassedbust right; reverseIOVI 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; $150.00 (€112.50)
From the Antioch Hoard of Gallienus.
RA59125. Billonantoninianus, Göbl MIR 1617i, RIC V S668, SRCV III 10402, RSC IV 1237b cor., AHG 487 (this coin), Choice EF, weight 3.471 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch mint, 266 - 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseVIRTVS AVG, Virtus standing left, helmeted and wearing military garb, resting right hand on shield set on ground, spear with point up in left, starin ex; $135.00 (€101.25)
In 254 A.D. the Roman Empire was threatened by the Alemanni, Franks and Marcomanni in Germania, by the Goths in the Danube region (Moesia and Thrace) and Asia Minor, and by the Persians in the East.
RB55007. Bronze sestertius, Göbl MIR 15z, RIC V J209 var (busttype), Cohen 132 var (same), aVF, weight 19.535 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 254 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate head right; reverseCONCORDIA EXERCIT, Concordia standing left, patera in right, double cornucopia in left, S - C flanking across field; $130.00 (€97.50)
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 cuirassedbust right; reverseIOVI CONSERVATORI, Jupiter standing facing, nude but for cloak behind, head left, thunderbolt in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $125.00 (€93.75)
Lot of 5 All Different Gallienus Silver Antoniniani
SP65580. Silver Lot, Lot of 5 silver antoniniani of Gallienus, no duplicate types, Fine or better, mostly nice coins with good metal for this emperor, coins in each 5 coin lot were selected from same lot as the coins in the photo; as-is, no returns, 5 coins; $120.00 (€90.00)
During the siege of Milan, at a late hour but while he was still lingering with pleasures of the table, a false alarm was given, that Aureolus, at the head of all his forces, had made a desperate sally from the town. Gallienus, who was never deficient in personal bravery, started from his silken couch, and without allowing himself time either to put on his armor, or to assemble his guards, he mounted on horseback, and rode full speed towards the supposed place of the attack. Ambushed by enemies from among his own force, amidst the nocturnal tumult, he received a mortal wound from an uncertain hand.
RS64584. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 890h, RIC V J54 (Lyon), RSC IV 1206, Elmer 82, SRCV III 10400, VF, weight 3.077 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, ColoniaAgrippina (Cologne) mint, c. 259 - 260 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassedbust right; reverseVIRT GALLIENI AVG, emperor advancing left, spear in right hand, shield in left, treading with left foot on reclining captive who is raising his right arm; scarce; $100.00 (€75.00)
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in ancient Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis.
RA64585. Billonantoninianus, Göbl MIR 1169m (8 ex.), RSC IV 91, RIC V S467, Cunetio Hoard 1507, SRCV III 10183, aVF, weight 2.952 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Milan mint, 264 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverseAPOLLO CONSER, Apollo standing facing, naked, head right, right hand on his head, left resting on lyre set on a column; rare; $100.00 (€75.00)
In 258, Valerian put to death a number of church leaders, including Rome's bishop, Sixtus. Christians belonging to the nobility or the Roman Senate were deprived of their property and exiled. Thinking that the Christian had great hidden treasures, Valerian ordered the leading deacon, Laurentius, him to hand them over. Laurentius agreed but asked for three days to gather them to together. He assembled the poor, aged and sick in Rome and brought them before the emperor, saying "These are the true treasures of the church." Furious, Laurentius was ordered to suffer a slow and cruel death. On 10 August 258, Laurentius was scourged, beaten with irons, and had his joints dislocated. He was then placed on a grate over a fire and slowly roasted to death. Having lain there for some time, he is reported to have called out to the emperor a Latin couplet, "Assum est, inquit, versa et manduca" (This side is done, turn me over and have a bite). His executioner obliged and after he had been tormented for a considerable time, he finally lifted his eyes to heaven and with calmness yielded his spirit to God. Laurentius (Saint Lawrence) is the patron saint of comedians.
RA64601. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 893i, RIC V J44 (Lugdunum); RSC IV 1059 (Lugdunum), SRCV III 10378, VF, weight 3.616 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 315o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne) mint, 257 - 258 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust left, spear over shoulder in right, shield in left; reverseVICT GERMANICA, Victory striding left, wreath in extended right, trophy in right, treading with right foot on German captive seated left with hands bound behind; scarce with this bust; $95.00 (€71.25)
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). 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 Accesson of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
See our Roman provincial and Greek imperial pages for provincial coin references.
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