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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Crisis and Decline| ▸ |Gallienus||View 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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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.
RA92962. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1628c, RSC IV 46b, RIC V-1 S628, Hunter IV S194, SRCV III 10171 var. (cuirassed bust left), VF, well centered and struck, minor encrustations, weight 3.590 g, maximum diameter 21.3 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, suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus, palm branch right in exergue; ex Colosseum Coin Exchange; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


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Upon his father's capture by Parthia, Gallienus assumed the throne and began numerous reforms and military campaigns against usurpers and barbarians. He presided over a late flowering of Roman culture, patronizing poets, artists, and philosophers. He was assassinated while besieging Milan.
RA91196. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 583a, Hunter IV S80, RSC IV 1014, SRCV III 10368, RIC V-1 S287 var. (obv. leg., officina), EF, full silvering, some luster, well centered, some legend weak, weight 4.172 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 210o, 5th officina, Rome mint, 265 - 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse VBERITAS AVG (to the abundance of the emperor), Uberitas standing slightly left, head left, purse made from cow's udder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, E right; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


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This type commemorates vows made to Apollo invoking his protection against the revolt of Aureolus. During the siege of Milan, at a late hour but while he was still lingering with pleasures of the table, a false alarm was suddenly given, reporting 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. There he was ambushed by enemies from among his own officers. Amidst the nocturnal tumult, he received a mortal wound from an uncertain hand. Perhaps his request to Apollo was too specific and asked only for protection from Aureolus?

The centaur Chiron was the tutor of Apollo and the first to teach him the medicinal use of herbs. The exact meaning of the globe and rudder are more obscure but likely allude to Apollo assisting Gallienus in steering the "ship of state."
RA92069. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 738b, RIC V-1 S164, RSC IV 73, Hunter IV 99 corr. (says trophy vice rudder), SRCV III 10178, F, dark patina with earthen highlighting, tight flan, weight 2.744 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, 8th officina, Rome mint, 267 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate bust right; reverse APOLLINI CONS AVG (to Apollo the preserver of the Emperor), centaur Chiron walking left, globe in right hand, rudder in left hand, H in exergue; ex Rusty Romans; $45.00 (€39.60)
 


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Like many of the dedications on Gallienus' coins, this coin's dedication to the fidelity of the army was a false hope. 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.
RA91610. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 600a, RIC V-1 S192a, RSC IV 246, Hunter IV S57, SRCV III -, VF, traces of silvering, centered on a tight flan, weight 3.258 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, 9th officina, Rome mint, 265 - 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse FIDES MILITVM (the loyalty of the soldiers, M appearing as IIII), Fides standing slightly left, head left, standard in left, scepter in right, N (appearing as III) right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $50.00 (€44.00)
 


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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.
RB91611. Orichalcum sestertius, Göbl MIR 38cc, RIC V-1 J248, Cohen V 1295, Hunter IV J33, SRCV III 10495, F/aF, well centered, tight squared flan (typical for the period), scratches and scrapes, weight 19.394 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Virtus standing left, wearing crested helmet and military garb, right resting hand on grounded shield, spear vertical behind in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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"Eirene is the Koine (New Testament) Greek word for "harmony." It's actually translated "peace" in most places. But in Greek culture, the idea of peace was not a passive concept or an absence of conflict. Rather peace was something active, where parties worked to find common ground and maintain a relationship. Or where a person worked to maintain a harmonious relationship with his or her environment." -- Becca Shouse, Notes from Eirene Farm
RX92009. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5236; Milne 4114; Geissen 2929; BMC Alexandria p. 284, 2177; SNG Cop 786; Kampmann 90.87; Emmett 3810.13, VF, well centered, nice portrait, tiny edge cracks, weight 8.670 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 265 - 266 A.D.; obverse AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Eirene (Peace) standing left, olive-branch in raised right, scepter in left, palm right, date LIΓ (year 13) left; ex FORVM (2008); $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Side, Pamphylia

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A thyrsos and a torch on another Side reverse mentioning the Agon Mystikos (BMC 118) indicates the Sidetan Mystikos was dedicated to Dionysos and Demeter, and perhaps also to the Roman emperor (see J. Nollé: Der Agon Mystikos in Side, in: Chiron 16 (1986), pp. 204-206). As Dionysos is, among other roles, a god of the arts, it was likely an artistic rather than athletic competition. Nollé dated the conferment of the Sidetan Agon Mystikos to the time of Hadrian, but as the first reference to it comes from coins of Gallienus (such this coin). More likely, the Agon was founded in the mid 3rd century, perhaps in fact under Gallienus, whose interest in mystery cults is well attested and who was famously initiated into the Eleusian Mysteries himself (like Hadrian!).
RP88915. Bronze AE 32, SNG PfPs -, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycia -, Lindgren -; ISEGRIM -; et al. -; c/m: Howgego 805 (169 pcs, applied 253 - 268 A.D.), aF, legends weak, a little off center, rough and porous, weight 17.252 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 30o, Side (near Selimiye, Antalya Province, Turkey) mint, joint reign, Aug 253 - 260 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI ΠOY ΛI ΓAΛΛIHNOC CE, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; countermark on right: E (5 assaria) in 7.5mm round punch obliterating IA (prior mark of value); reverse IEPA ΠVΘIAE IEPOC MYCTIKOC (holy Pythian [games], sacred, mystical), two prize urns containing palms, set on an agonistic table, table edge inscribed CI∆HW, uncertain object(s) or inscription below table top and in exergue (if any); we could not find a single specimen of this type online or in our many references - this is the only specimen of this type known to FORVM; extremely rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Side, Pamphylia

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The great ruins of Side are among the most notable in Asia Minor. They cover a large promontory which a wall and a moat separate from the mainland. There are two agoras: a commercial agora and the "state" agora. The commercial agora is over 8000 square meters, surrounded by columns, with shops, exedras and latrines and washing places. On it inconceivable numbers of slaves must have been traded, for during part of its history Side was a major center for pirates who stationed their fleet here. At its center, there is a round temple, well-restored, that was dedicated to the protective goddess of the city, Tyche. The present construction dates from the 2nd century A.D. and was still in use in Byzantine times.Temple of Tyche
RP88917. Bronze 5 assaria, SNG Pfalz 823; SNG BnF 922; BMC Lycia p. 161, 117; Waddington 3495; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Righetti -; Lindgren -; c/m: Howgego 805 (169 pcs.), VF, broad flan, porous, edge crack (from counter-marking?), weight 13.494 g, maximum diameter 30.0 mm, die axis 180o, Side (near Selimiye, Antalya Province, Turkey) mint, joint reign, Aug 253 - 260 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI ΠO ΛI ΓAΛΛIHNOC CE (AI in error, should be ΛI, but error is normal for this type), laureate bust right, wearing paludamentum and cuirass, eagle right below with wings open; countermark on right: E (5 assaria) in 7.5mm round punch obliterating IA (prior mark of value); reverse CI∆HTΩN NEΩKOPΩ, draped bust of Tyche right, wearing veil and mural crown, pomegranate on branch right (not fully struck) below; scarce; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Side, Pamphylia

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The great ruins of Side are among the most notable in Asia Minor. The well-preserved city walls provide an entrance to the site through the Hellenistic main gate. Next comes the colonnaded street, all that remains of the marble columns are a few broken stubs near the old Roman baths. The street leads to the public bath, restored as a museum displaying statues and sarcophagi from the Roman period. Next is the square agora with the remains of a round Temple of Tyche in the middle. The agora was a trading center where pirates sold slaves. The remains of the theater, which was used for gladiator fights and later as a church, and the monumental gate date back to the 2nd century. The early Roman Temple of Dionysus is near the theater. The fountain gracing the entrance is restored. At the left side are the remains of a Byzantine Basilica. A public bath has also been restored. The remaining ruins of Side include three temples, an aqueduct, and a nymphaeum. The photograph right is of ruins of the temple of Apollo.Temple of Apollo
RP88913. Bronze 5 assaria, SNG Cop 4844 (same obv. die), SNG BnF 924, BMC Lycia p. 160, 110, SNG Pfalz -, SNG Cop -, SNG Righetti -, Lindgren -; c/m: Howgego 805 (169 pcs), VF, well centered on a broad flan, porous, weight 17.834 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 30o, Side (near Selimiye, Antalya Province, Turkey) mint, joint reign, Aug 253 - 260 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI ΠOY ΛI ΓAΛΛIHNOC CE, laureate bust right, wearing paludamentum and cuirass, eagle right with wings open below; countermark on right: E (5 assaria) in 7.5mm round punch obliterating IA (prior mark of value); reverse CI∆HTΩN NEΩKOPΩN, Apollo standing front, head left, wearing short chiton, chlamys and boots, patera in right hand, left hand rests on laurel tipped staff, pomegranate on branch right; scarce; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


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To the ancient Romans, Rome was "Roma Aeterna" (The Eternal City) and "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World). 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. The empire is history but Rome is still today, the Eternal City. Rome's influence on Western Civilization can hardly be overestimated; perhaps a 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.
RL88592. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1613e, RIC V-1 654, RSC IV 920, SRCV III 10343 var. (obverse legend, star position), aF, white metal with coppery areas, centered, porous, light deposits, weight 3.440 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 264 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS P F AVG, cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), Roma seated left, Victory in right hand, spear in left hand, star upper left, oval shield leaning against near side of seat; $.99 (€.87)




  






|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).
Bourdel, B. Les Antoniniens emis sous le regne conjoint des empereurs Valerien et Gallien, Mariniane, Salonine, Valerien II, Salonin (253-260 Apr. J.-C.). (2017).
Burnett, A. & R. 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., E. Sydenham, and P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, |Part| I, Valerian to Florian. (London, 1927).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Schaad, D. & J. Lafaurie. Le trésor d'Eauze. (Toulouse, 1992).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. 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, October 14, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Gallienus