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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Constantinian Era| ▸ |Constantine the Great||View Options:  |  |  |   

Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, was the son of Helena and the First Tetrarchic ruler Constantius I. Constantine is most famous for his conversion to Christianity after the battle of the Milvian Bridge where he defeated emperor Maxentius. Before the battle, he saw the words "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) emblazoned on the sun around the Chi Rho, the symbol of Christianity. After placing this Christogram on the shields of his army, he defeated his opponent and thus ruled the empire through divine providence. He also shifted the capital of the empire to Constantinople, establishing the foundation for an Empire that would last another 1000 years. He died in 337 and his sons divided the Roman territories.


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On 8 October 314, Constantine the Great defeated Licinius in the Battle of Cibalae, near Colonia Aurelia Cibalae (modern Vinkovci, Croatia). Licinius lost all of the Balkans except for Thrace and fled to Sirmium. Peace negotiations were initiated, but unsuccessful.
RL92852. Billon follis, Hunter V 179 (also 1st officina), RIC VII Rome 19, SRCV IV 16096, Cohen VII 536, Choice VF, well centered and struck, light marks and scratches, light deposits, weight 2.873 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Rome mint, 314 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, R - F flanking at sides, R*P in exergue; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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Manus Dei, the hand of God, reaches down to take Constantine up to heaven. Constantine is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
RL92058. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Antioch 39; LRBC I 1374; SRCV V 17488; Voetter 34; Cohen VII 760; Hunter V p. 283, 4 ff. var. (officina), VF, tight flan, cleaning scratches, weight 1.348 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 315o, 7th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, posthumous, 337 - Apr 340 A.D.; obverse DV CONSTANTINVS PT AVGG, veiled bust right; reverse Constantine in quadriga right, veiled, the hand of God reaches down to take him to heaven, SMANZ in exergue; ex Sayles & Lavender; $40.00 (€35.20)
 


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There are no surviving histories or biographies dealing with Constantine's life and rule. The nearest replacement is Eusebius of Caesarea's Vita Constantini, a work that is a mixture of eulogy and hagiography. Written between 335 AD and circa 339 AD, the Vita extols Constantine's moral and religious virtues. The Vita creates a contentiously positive image of Constantine, and modern historians have frequently challenged its reliability. The fullest secular life of Constantine is the anonymous Origo Constantini. A work of uncertain date, the Origo focuses on military and political events, to the neglect of cultural and religious matters.
RL92087. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Nicomedia 90 (R1), LRBC I 1073, SRCV IV 16257, Cohen VII 454, Hunter V 330 var. (officina), VF, well centered, desert patina, weight 1.835 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 324 - 325 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), campgate with two turrets, no door, star above, SMN∆ in exergue; ex Zurqieh (UAE); $30.00 (€26.40)
 


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The Latin word comiti, during imperial times, indicated a minister of the emperor. Even the two consuls where called "comites." The reverse legend therefore reads: "to the unconquered Sun, minister [of Constantine]."
RL92820. Billon follis, RIC VII Rome 2, SRCV IV 16095, Cohen VII 536, Hunter V 168 ff. var. (officina), Choice VF, well centered, slight reverse weakness, scattered porosity, small encrustations, weight 2.734 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, 313 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, R - F flanking at sides, RT in exergue; $32.00 (€28.16)
 


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In 321, Constantine I assigned convicts to grind Rome's flour in a move to hold back the rising price of food in an empire whose population had shrunk as a result of plague.
RL89935. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 266 (R3), SRCV IV 16317, Cohen VII 690, Hunter V 53 var. (2nd officina), Choice gVF, well centered, dark brown tone, weight 2.850 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 320 A.D.; obverse CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS EXERCIT (courage of the army), trophy of captured arms with VOT/XX, flanked on each side at the base by a seated captive, captive on the left (veiled female?) raising hand to face in mourning, captive on the right with hands bound behind his back and head turned back left, PTR in exergue; rare; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
RL89940. Billon follis, RIC VI Roma 196, Cohen VII 74, SRCV IV 15512, Hunter V -, Choice F, well centered, rough green patina, scratches, edge crack, weight 6.123 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 165o, 4th officina, Rome mint, as caesar, early autumn 307 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse CONSERVATORES VRB SVAE (Guardian of the city traditions), hexastyle temple containing Roma seated facing, head left, holding globe and scepter, mint mark R*Q in exergue; $40.00 (€35.20)
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae Laetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people." RIC notes the design on the altar gradually becomes more elaborate (more pellets) throughout this London issue. The first variety was a plain rhombus. This design with five pellets was the last altar variation of the issue.
RL89675. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII London 161 (R1), Hunter V -, SRCV IV -, Cohen VII -, VF, well centered and struck with full legends, dark toning with some silvering, light marks, weight 2.866 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Londinium (London, England) mint, 319 - 320 A.D.; obverse CONSTA-NTINVS AVG, helmeted, laureate, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (Joyous victory to the eternal Prince), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) over altar, altar ornamented with a rhombus with a pellet in the center and four pellets around, PLN in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection, ex Nemesis Coins (2004); scarce; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae Laetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."
RL89676. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Siscia 54 (R2, altar type y), Cohen VII 636, SRCV IV 16302, Hunter V -, Choice VF, dark green patina, well centered and struck, weight 3.301 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 318 - 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (Joyous victory to the eternal Prince), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) on altar, altar ornamented with a small cross at the center of a large X, ΓSIS in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection, ex Finn Johannessen Collection (2004); $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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Zach Beasley, formerly the owner operator of Beast Coins, and now the Senior Numismatist at Heritage Auctions, assembled a collection of Roman coins with Latin reverse legends abbreviating Victoriae Laetae Principium Perpatua. These reverse legends translate, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." We are pleased offer some of the coins from this collection, which are among the finest examples of the types.
RL89677. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Siscia 61 (R2, altar type a), Cohen VII 637, SRCV IV 16303, Hunter V 250 var. (altar, 5th officina), Choice gVF, full border centering, dark patina, traces of silvering, light marks, a few tiny scattered spots of porosity, weight 2.668 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 225o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 319 - 320 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANT-INVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, helmet with high crest and highly ornamented, spear in right hand across right shoulder, shield on left arm; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP, two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) over plain altar, ∆SIS• in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae Laetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."
RL89678. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 209 (R1), SRCV IV 16297, Cohen VII 640, Hunter V 52 var. (star on altar), Choice VF, well centered, highlighting red earthen fill, weight 3.219 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 318 - 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (Joyous victory to the eternal Prince), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) over altar, altar face ornamented with beveled facets (box design), STR in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection; $80.00 (€70.40)
 




  






OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

AVGVSTVS
COMISCONSTANTINIAVG
CONSTANTINVSAG
CONSTANTINVSAVG
CONSTANTINVSCAESAR
CONSTANTINVSFILAVGG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSMAXIMAVG
CONSTANTINVSNOBC
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAESAR
CONSTANTINVSNOBILC
CONSTANTINVSNOBILIC
CONSTANTINVSPAG
CONSTANTINVSPAVG
CONSTANTINVSPAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSPFINAVG
DDNNCONSTANTINVSETLICINIVSAVGG
DIVOCONSTANTINOAVG
DIVOCONSTANTINOP
DIVCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DIVVSCONSTANTINVSAVGPATERAVGG
DNCONSTANTINVSAVG
DNCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
DNCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSFILAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAESAR
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBILC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBILIC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
FLVALERCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
FLVALERIVSCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFINVAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINOPFINVAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPFINVAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSAG
IMPCONSTANTINVSAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSINAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIINAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIVSFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIVSFELIXAVG
INVICTVSCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG


REFERENCES|

Bastien, P. Le Monnayage de l'Atelier de Lyon, De la Réforme Monétaire de Dioclétien à la fermeture temporaire de l'Atelier en 316 (294 - 316). Numismatique Romaine XI. (Wetteren, 1980).
Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier en 318 à la mort de Constantin (318 - 337). Numismatique Romaine XIII. (Wetteren, 1982).
Bruun, P. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VII, Constantine and Licinius A.D. 313 - 337. (London, 1966).
Carson, R., P. Hill & J. Kent. Late Roman Bronze Coinage. (London, 1960).
Carson, R., H. Sutherland & J. Kent. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VIII, The Family of Constantine I, A.D. 337 - 364. (London, 1981).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 7: Carausius to Constantine & sons. (Paris, 1888).
Depeyrot, G. Les émissions monétaires d'Arles (4th -5th Siècles). Moneta 6. (Wetteren, 1996).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Dioclétien a Constantin I (284 - 337). (Wetteren, 1995).
Failmezger, V. Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity, 294 - 364 A.D. (Washington D.C., 2002).
King, C. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Milchev, S. The Coins of Constantine the Great. (Sophia, 2007).
Paolucci, R. & A. Zub. La monetazione di Aquileia Romana. (Padova, 2000).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. V. Diocletian (Reform) to Zeno. (Oxford, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine...Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 2011).
Speck, R. & S. Huston. Constantine's Dafne Coinage at Constantinople. (San Francisco, 1992).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
Voetter, O. Die Münzen der romischen Kaiser, Kaiserinnen und Caesaren von Diocletianus bis Romulus: Katalog der Sammlung Paul Gerin. (Vienna, 1921).

Catalog current as of Sunday, October 20, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Constantine the Great