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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 263 A.D., King Odenathus of Palmyra declared himself ruler of the area west of the River Euphrates and was given the title Dux Orientalis by Emperor Gallienus.
RB86184. Orichalcum sestertius, Göbl MIR 92h, RIC V J209, Cohen V 132, Hunter IV J24 corr. (described with aegis), SRCV III 10467, aVF, tight flan, dark green patina with light earthen deposits, some corrosion, a few blue-green spots, tiny edge cracks, weight 16.198 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse CONCORDIA EXERCIT (harmony with the army), Concord standing left holding patera and double cornucopia, S C (senatus consulto) at sides low across field; the lighter blue-green spots are hard, not powdery, and do NOT appear to be active corrosion; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


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)
 


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Hercules is depicted in the same pose as the Farnese Hercules, a massive marble sculpture, which depicts a muscular yet weary Hercules leaning on his club, which has his lion-skin draped over it. He has just performed the last of The Twelve Labors, which is suggested by the apples of the Hesperides he holds behind his back. The Farnese Hercules is probably an enlarged copy made in the early third century A.D., signed by Glykon, from an original by Lysippos that would have been made in the fourth century B.C. The copy was made for the Baths of Caracalla in Rome (dedicated in 216 A.D.), where it was recovered in 1546. Today it is in Naples National Archaeological Museum. The statue was well-liked by the Romans, and copies have been found in many Roman palaces and gymnasiums. It is one of the most famous sculptures of antiquity, and has fixed the image of the mythic hero in the human imagination.Farnese Hercules
RA89689. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1616i, RSC IV 1320d, SRCV III 10415, RIC V-1 S673 var. (draped and cuirassed not listed), Choice EF, sharp detail, excellent centering, toned silvering, weight 3.843 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 264 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVGVSTI (to the valor of the Emperor), Hercules standing right, right hand on hip, left hand holding lion skin and resting on a club set on rock, star in exergue; ex Beast Coins; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


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The "zoo series" of coins calling on Diana to protect the Emperor was struck late in Gallienus' reign. His father, Valerian, had been particularly dedicated to the worship of Diana the Preserver and had dedicated a temple to her at Rome. Diana apparently did not favor Gallienus. Not long after this coin was struck, he was assassinated near Milan while attempting to deal with the usurper Aureolus.
RB91182. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 728z, RIC V-1 S176, RSC IV 153, SRCV III 10199, EF, traces of silvering, tight flan, weight 2.712 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 267 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse IMP GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse DIANAE CONS AVG (to Diana protector of the Emperor), doe walking right with head turned back left, E in exergue; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


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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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?

According to Philostratus, the griffin was sacred to Apollo or Sol. On coins of Aureliopolis in Lydia, griffins are represented drawing the chariot of the Sun.
RA91293. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 718z, RIC V-1 S165, RSC IV 77, Hunter IV S88, SRCV III 10180 var. (no IMP), VF, nice dark near black patina, weight 3.080 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 10th emission, 267 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse IMP GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse APOLLINI CONS AVG (to Apollo the preserver of the Emperor), griffin walking left, ∆ in exergue; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


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)
 


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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., Antiocheia, Pisidia

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Paul of Tarsus gave his first sermon to the Gentiles (Acts 13:13-52) at Antiochia in Pisidia, and visited the city once on each of his missionary journeys, helping to make Antioch a center of early Christianity in Anatolia. Antioch in Pisidia is also known as Antiochia Caesareia and Antiochia in Phrygia.
RP86498. Bronze AE 29, Krzyzanowska (XVII/41), SNG BnF 1324 (same obverse die), SNG Cop 92 (same), SNGvA -, SNG PfPs -, BMC Lycia -, VF, blue-green patina, obverse center not fully struck, bumps and marks, weight 12.533 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse IMP CA GALIHNVS PIVS, radiate and draped bust right; reverse ANTIOCHI COL, she-wolf right standing right, head turned back looking left, suckling the twins Romulus and Remus, S R (Senatus Romanum) in exergue; $90.00 (€79.20)
 




  



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|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 Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Gallienus