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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Crisis and Decline| ▸ |Gordian III||View Options:  |  |  |   

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.

Gordian III was the grandson of Gordian I and nephew of Gordian II. He was proclaimed Caesar shortly before the murder of Balbinus and Pupienus, and he succeeded them. Little is known about his reign. In 242 A.D. he embarked on a campaign against the Persian Kingdom which was so successful the Persians had to evacuate Mesopotamia. However, Gordian III died shortly after, through illness or the machinations of his Praetorian prefect and successor, Philip I.


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Viminacium, Moesia Superior

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Viminacium was a Roman Colony founded by Gordian III in 239 A.D. The usual legend is P.M.S. COL. VIM., abbreviating Provinciae Moesiae Superioris Colonia Viminacium. The usual type is a female personification of Moesia standing between a lion and a bull. The bull and the lion were symbols of the Legions VII and IV, which were quartered in the province.
RP92877. Bronze AE 29, H-J Viminacium 12 (R2); AMNG I/I 83; BMC Thrace p. 16, 12; SNG Cop 144; Varbanov I -, Choice aVF, well centered, slight porosity, weight 19.615 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 0o, Viminacium (Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M S COL VIM, Moesia standing facing, head left, extending hands over bull on left standing right and lion on right standing left, AN IIII (year 4 of the Viminacium colonial era) in exergue; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Deultum, Thrace

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Vespasian founded Deultum, settled with veterans of Legio VIII Augusta, on the west coast of Lake Mandren between Anchialus and Apollonia.
RP92880. Brass AE 22, Draganov Deultum 1414 (O138/R110), CN Online Deultum CN_17048, Jurukova 307, Varbanov II 2567 (R3), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, VF, well centered, porosity, central depressions, weight 7.532 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Deultum (Debelt, Bulgaria) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AG, radiate and draped bust right; reverse COL FL PAC DEVLT, eagle standing slightly right, head right with wreath in beak; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


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In Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume III, David Sear notes this type was issued for the wedding of Gordian and Tranquillina.
RS92984. Silver denarius, RIC IV 129A (R), RSC IV 325, Hunter III 62, SRCV III 8681, Choice VF, full border centering on a broad flan, nice portrait, light toning, flow lines, weight 3.033 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 241 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SALVS AVGVSTI (to the health of the Emperor), Salus standing right, draped, from patera held in left hand, feeding snake held in right hand; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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Laetitia is the Roman goddess of gaiety and joy, her name deriving from the root word laeta, meaning happy. She is typically depicted on coinage with a wreath in her right hand, and a scepter, a rudder, or an anchor in her left hand.
RB92990. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 300a, Cohen V 122, Banti 38, Hunter III 140, SRCV III 8712, aVF, green patina, squared patina, scratch on reverse, weight 21.349 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, late 240 - early 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse LAETITIA AVG N (the joy of our Emperor), Laetitia standing facing, head left, wreath in right hand, anchor in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low in field; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

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After Apollo insulted him, Eros (cupid) shot Apollo with an arrow that caused him to fall in hopeless love with Daphne, a mortal woman. Eros shot Daphne with an arrow which made her incapable of loving Apollo. Nevertheless Apollo pursued her, and out of desperation Daphne escaped by having herself turned into a laurel. Ever after, winners of the games to honor Apollo wore wreaths of laurel in honor of Apollo's Daphne.
RS91600. Fouree silver plated antoninianus, cf. RIC IV 89, RSC IV 261, Hunter III 37, SRCV III 8648 (official prototype, silver, Rome mint), VF, nice portrait, excellent centering, minor lamination flaking on edges revealing baser core, reverse center not fully struck, weight 3.462 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, 242 - Jul 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS II P P, Apollo seated left on throne, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, laurel branch in right, resting left arm on lyre; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


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Laetitia is the Roman goddess of gaiety and joy, her name deriving from the root word laeta, meaning happy. She is typically depicted on coinage with a wreath in her right hand, and a scepter, a rudder, or an anchor in her left hand.
RB91601. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 300a, Cohen V 122, Banti 38, Hunter III 140, SRCV III 8712, F, nice youthful portrait, well centered, tight squared flan (typical of the period), light earthen deposits, weight 22.416 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, late 240 - early 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse LAETITIA AVG N (the joy of our Emperor), Laetitia standing facing, head left, wreath in right hand, anchor in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low in field; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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The kithara (cithara) was an ancient stringed musical instrument resembling the lyre. The lyre was a simpler folk-instrument with two strings and tortoise shell body. The kithara had seven strings and a flat back. The kithara is a symbol of Apollo and he is credited with inventing it. Its true origins were likely Asiatic.. The kithara was primarily used by professional musicians, called kitharodes. In modern Greek, the word kithara has come to mean "guitar."
RP89874. Bronze AE 26, Jurukova Hadrianopolis 547, Varbanov 3715 (R4), SNG Cop 588, Moushmov 2680, F, nice portrait, glossy dark patina, obverse slightly off center, reverse a little rough, central depressions, weight 10.328 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYT K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AV, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEIT,ΩN (last two letters in exergue), Apollo seated left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, laurel branch downward in right hand, kithara (lyre) resting on seat behind in left hand; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


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

Rome's influence on Western Civilization can hardly be overestimated. In sum, Rome has perhaps had greater influence than any other city on earth, making important contributions to politics, literature, culture, the arts, architecture, music, religion, education, fashion, cinema and cuisine.
RS88424. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 70, RSC IV 314, SRCV III 8658, Hunter III - (p. lxxxiii), aVF/F, slightly off center, light marks, flow lines, reverse die wear, weight 4.963 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 240 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), Roma seated left on shield, Victory in right hand, spear in left hand; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


Kingdom of Edessa, Mesopotamia, Abgar X with Gordian III, 242 - 243 A.D.

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Abgar X Frahad bar Manu was raised to the throne when Gordian III recovered Mesopotamia from the Persians. His rule and the Kingdom of Edessa both ended with Gordian's assassination and a Sassanid takeover in 244 A.D.
GB88990. Bronze AE 24, BMC Arabia p. 115, 148; Babelon Edessa 97; cf. SNG Cop 225 (draped and cuirassed), SNG Hunterian 2579 (same), aVF, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, porous, weight 9.952 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, laureate bust of Gordian III right, slight drapery on left shoulder, star lower right; reverse ABΓAPOC BACIΛEYC, draped bust of Abgar right, bearded, wearing a diademed Parthian-style tiara, star behind; ex Dmitry Markov Coins & Medals; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


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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."
RS87916. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 213, RSC IV 167, Hunter III 167, SRCV III 8626, Choice VF, well centered on a broad flan, light marks, some die wear, small edge cracks, weight 4.077 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 30o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 242 - 244 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ORIENS AVG (the rising sun 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; ex Beast Coins; $75.00 (€66.00)
 




  






OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMPCMANTGORDIANVSAVG
IMPCAESGORDIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPCAESMANTGORDIANVSAVG
IMPCAESMANTGORDIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPGORDIANVSPIVSFELAVG
IMPGORDIANVSPIVSFELIXAVG
MANTGORDIANVSCAES


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV: From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III: Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, 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, November 22, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Gordian III