Delmatius Caesar Nepotism, Roman Style
Late in his reign, Constantine the Great began to prepare for the transfer of his immense power to his successors. No Emperor was better supplied with candidates. Having killed his eldest son Crispus, Constantine still had three sons already holding the title Caesar. For a reason that has never been clear (to me, anyway) Constantine decided to divide up the Empire and included the sons of his half brother in the division. Flavius Julius Delmatius was given the rank of Caesar and control of Greece, Macedonia and Thrace.
Delmatius Caesar - AE3/4 reduced follis - 336-337 AD - Thessolonika officina 5 - 17mm, 1.5g
FL DALMATIVS NOB C / GLORI-A EXER-CITVS - SMTSE
One standard between two soldiers with spears and shields
Also below are two other Delmatius folles with the standard 'E' spelling. Each of the mints that honored him vary slightly in style but used the same reverse type. Second from the left is the mint of Siscia while second from the right shows a coin of Nicomedia after the correction in spelling was made. Finally, on the right, is a single standard coin of Constantine I from Thessolonika. This was the last lifetime issue of this 'Great' ruler.
The plans of Constantine to provide efficient government of the vast empire fell prey to the lust for power by his sons. Delmatius and almost all of the extended family was killed in a series of executions and civil wars. By 350 AD only one son, Constantius II, remained. Desiring help in administering the Empire he appointed Caesars from the few members of the family that survived the bloodbath of 337 AD. The last of these, Julian II, managed to outlive Constantius II and was the last ruler from the house of Constantine. Several coins of this period are shown on my Common Constantinian page.
Footnote: Some of you are asking why I did not include Delmatius' brother on this page. Even more rare are coins honoring Hanniballianus whose share of the empire was Armenia. He was not made Caesar but was installed as 'Rex' or King of Armenia. A few coins were struck dedicated (dative case legends) to him as 'REGI' making him the only Roman to bear this numismatic title (even though he was NOT king of Rome!). I would like to have shown one of these on this page but I do not have a photograph of the coin. Hanniballianus died in the same proscription that killed Delmatius.
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(c) 1998 Doug Smith