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Last additions - Yurii P
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Constans bust left7 viewsSlightly enhanced obverse fragment of http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-155168Yurii PMay 10, 2019
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CONSTANS PF AVG / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE4 follis, 346-348 10 viewsCONSTAN - S PF AVG, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust left, the laurel leaves are denoted as longish shapes / GLOR - IA EXERC - ITVS, two soldiers, helmeted, draped, cuirassed, standing front, heads turned toward each another, each holding inverted spear in outer hand and resting inner hand on shield; between them, a standard, device on banner large dot, with 3 badges. Mintmark AQS in exergue, palm branch "upright" in both left and right fields.

Ӕ4, 15.5mm, 1.10g, die axis 6h (coin alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

RIC VIII Aquileia 22: ID straightforward thanks to unusual obverse and palm branches in the fields, even if the mintmark were unclear.

P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor. Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) "The Glory of the Army" AQuileia mint, S = officina #2.

CONSTANS, * c. 323 † February 350 (aged ~27) in Vicus Helena, southwestern Gaul (Elne, southern France)
‡ 25 December 333 – 337 (as Caesar in Constantinople under his father); 337 – 340 (joint emperor with Constantius II and Constantine II, over Italia and Africa); 340 – 350 (after defeating Constantine II, Western Emperor, together with Constantius II in the East).

More biographical info in http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147486
Yurii PMay 10, 2019
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CONSTANTIVS PF AVG (the 2nd) / VICTORIAE DD AVGGQ NN, AE4 follis, Siscia, 347-348 6 viewsCONSTANTI - VS PF AVG, pearl-diademed with rosettes, draped and cuirassed bust right/ VICTORIAE DD AVGGQ NN, two winged Victories facing each other, each holding wreath and palm branch; between them: a palm branch upright. Mintmark ЄSIS in exergue.

Ӕ4, 15-16mm, 1.39g, die axis 6h (coin alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

RIC VIII Siscia 194. Palm branch upright between the victories is a very specific feature, that immediately narrows the search down, and together with ЄSIS mintmark it gives RIC 194 type.

P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor, VICTORIAE DD AVGGQ NN = victoriae dominorum augustorum que nostrorum = victories of our lords and emperors (lit. ...which (are) ours), triumphal wreath and palm branch were common attributes of Victories; officina #5 (epsilon) of SIScia mint (Sisak, Croatia).

CONSTANTIVS II, * 317 in Sirmium, Pannonia (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) † 3 November 361 (aged 44) in Mopsuestia, Cilicia (near Adana, southern Turkey) ‡ 13 November 324 – 22 May 337: Caesar under his father, Constantine I; 337 – 340: co-Augustus (ruled Asian provinces & Egypt) with Constantine II and Constans; 340 – 350: co-Augustus (ruled Asian provinces & Egypt) with Constans; 350 – 3 November 361: mostly (see below) sole Augustus of the Roman Empire.

More biographical info in http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147501
Yurii PMay 09, 2019
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DN CONSTANS PF AVG / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE4 follis, Constantinople, 346-348 6 viewsDN CONSTA - NS PF AVG, pearl and rosette-diademed head only, right / GLOR - IA EXERC - ITVS, two soldiers facing each other, holding spears and shields, with one standard between them, device on banner large "o"? Mintmark CONSS (or CONSI?) in exergue.

AE4, 15.5mm, 1.35g, die axis 6h (coin alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

RIC VIII Constantinople 45? Obverse legend crystal clear, reverse not so much, but seems no trailing dot, definitely pearls, rosettes – unclear, a pity, because in this type they are special "square pearl rosettes with a pearl in the centre"; device is most probably "o", weird shape due to damage (but I would not completely disregard "star" or "chi-rho" possibility); CONSS almost certain, but CONSI may be possible. This most probably narrows the type down to RIC 45. But if we allow CONSI, it allows for another, more exotic possibility of * device on banner (RIC 54).

DN = Dominus Noster = Our Lord, P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor. Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) "The Glory of the Army" CONStantinopolis, S = officina #6.

CONSTANS, * c. 323 † February 350 (aged ~27) in Vicus Helena, southwestern Gaul (Elne, southern France)
‡ 25 December 333 – 337 (as Caesar in Constantinople under his father); 337 – 340 (joint emperor with Constantius II and Constantine II, over Italia and Africa); 340 – 350 (after defeating Constantine II, Western Emperor, together with Constantius II in the East).

More biographical info in http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147486
Yurii PMay 09, 2019
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DN CONSTANTIVS PF AVG (the 2nd) / SPES REIPVBLICAE AE3/4 follis, Sirmium, 355-361 7 viewsDN CONSTAN-TIVS PF AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right/ SPES [REI - PVBLICAE], emperor helmeted, draped, cuirassed, standing left, holding globe in right hand and spear in left hand. -S- in the left field, [dot in the right field? all other examples of this type have it, but here it is difficult to say] Mintmark BSIRM in exergue.

AE3/4, 16mm, 1.43g, die axis 1h (slightly turned medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

Seems RIC VIII Sirmium 86 (mint mark BSIRM and –S- in the left field are enough to narrow the search down even with unclear legends), but other similar types are 80 (with clear fields and the most common) and 82, 88, 90 (no idea what they are, cannot find examples or descriptions). Mint years are probably late, 355-361, because issued together with caesar Julian coins (Julian became caesar in 355).

DN = Dominus Noster = Our Lord, P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor, SPES REIPVBLICAE = The hope of the Republic, officina #2 (beta) of SIRMium mint (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia).

CONSTANTIVS II, * 317 in Sirmium, Pannonia (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) † 3 November 361 (aged 44) in Mopsuestia, Cilicia (near Adana, southern Turkey) ‡ 13 November 324 – 22 May 337: Caesar under his father, Constantine I; 337 – 340: co-Augustus (ruled Asian provinces & Egypt) with Constantine II and Constans; 340 – 350: co-Augustus (ruled Asian provinces & Egypt) with Constans; 350 – 3 November 361: mostly (see below) sole Augustus of the Roman Empire.

More biographical info in http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147501
Yurii PMay 07, 2019
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Generic Emperor of Late Diocletian Era7 viewsEnlarged bust from http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-155064

Although taken from a coin bearing the name of Galerius, this is in fact a "generic good emperor" portrait, that has nothing to do with the actual likeness of Galerius. To emphasize the universality of his tetrarchy, Diocletian minted the same portraits on all coins all over the empire, were they issued in his name, his co-Augustus Maximian, or their two junior co-emperors, Galerius and Constantius Chlorus.
Yurii PMay 05, 2019
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Galerius Concordia Militum Ӕ post-reform radiate fraction (295 - 299), Cyzicus mint6 viewsGAL VAL MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES, radiate, draped (?) and cuirassed bust right / CONCORDIA MI-LITVM + KB in lower centre, Prince (the left figure) standing right in military dress, holding parazonium or baton of imperium, receiving small Victory with a wreath and palm branch on globe from naked Jupiter (the right figure) standing left holding tall scepter.

Ӕ, 20mm, 2.36g, die axis 6h, base metal seems red, high copper content.

Galerius ruled as Caesar from 293 to 305, but most sources give minting years for this type of coin as 295-299.

RIC VI Cyzicus 19b (18b?), Sear 3713. 19b has cuirassed and draped bust, 18b -- only cuirassed. I think the edge of the military cape on the shoulder means it is draped in this case, but distinction seems very vague to me. Looking at coins identified as 18b and 19b I cannot see any clear pattern, it seems that many are confused in this respect just like myself.

GALerius VALerius MAXIMIANUS NOBilitas CAESar (in this era the title of "junior" emperor while Augustus was a "senior" one), CONCORDIA MILITVM = [Dedicated to] harmony with the soldiers, K = Kysikos (Cyzicus) mint, B = officina Beta (workshop #2). The figure to the right is naked except for a cape, so it is a god, the sceptre points to him being Jupiter, the ruler of gods. Jupiter is also typically associated with Victory, he was often depicted with Victory in the right hand and sceptre in the left. The line across his head probably designates a wreath, also a common feature of Jupiter. Victory holds her common attributes, the triumphal wreath and a palm branch, the orb she stands on represents the world (thus meaning dominion over it). Round Earth was a firmly established concept in Roman times. The left figure, the prince (Galerius in this case) is identified by his full battle dress and the hand-held short elongated shape, which is either the ivory baton of imperium (the high command) or, more likely, a parazonium, a long triangular dagger, typically cradled in the bearer's left arm. A Roman parazonium blade tended to be leaf shape and approximately 15"-19" long. It was a ceremonial weapon, a mark of high rank, used to rally the troops.

GALERIUS, * c. 250, near Serdica, Dacia Ripensis (Sofia, Bulgaria) or in a Dacian place later called Felix Romuliana (Gamzigrad, Serbia) † late Apr or early May 311 (aged ~60), Serdica, Dacia Ripensis (Sofia, Bulgaria) ‡ 1 Mar or 21 May 293 – 1 May 305 (as Eastern Caesar, under Diocletian), 1 May 305 – late Apr or early May 311 (as Eastern Augustus with many co-emperors).

Galerius was born of humble parentage and had a distinguished military career. On March 1, 293, he was nominated as Caesar by Diocletian, the supreme ruler of the empire, to help him govern the East. Galerius divorced his wife and married Diocletian’s daughter, Valeria. After ruling from Egypt from 293 to 295, Galerius assumed command of defensive operations against the Sasanians in 297. After being defeated, he then won a decisive victory that increased his influence with Diocletian. Galerius next proceeded to the Balkans and won numerous victories in the region. A staunch pagan, he persuaded the emperor to initiate the persecution of the Christians at Nicomedia in 303.

When Diocletian abdicated on May 1, 305, Galerius became Augustus of the East, ruling the Balkans and Anatolia. Since Galerius had arranged the appointment of two of his favourites, Maximinus (his nephew) and Flavius Valerius Severus, to be Caesars in both East and West, he was in effect the supreme ruler. When Constantius Chlorus died in 306, Galerius insisted that Severus govern the West as Augustus, but he grudgingly conceded the subordinate title of caesar to Chlorus’s son, Constantine, who was correctly suspected of Christian sympathies. Galerius’s supremacy was, however, short-lived. Severus was soon overthrown (306) and killed by Maxentius (son of the former emperor Maximian). Galerius invaded Italy but was forced to retreat. In 308 he induced Diocletian and Maximian to meet him at Carnuntum on the Danube and to declare Maxentius a usurper. On November 11, Galerius proclaimed as Augustus of the West his friend Licinius, who had effective control only in the region of the Danube.

A ruthless ruler, Galerius imposed the poll tax on the urban population and maintained the persecution of the Christians. In the winter of 310–311, however, he became incapacitated with a horrible disease. Fearing, perhaps, that his illness was the vengeance of the Christian God, he issued on April 30, 311, an edict grudgingly granting toleration. Shortly afterward he died. He was succeeded by his nephew Maximinus Daia.

Diocletian's money reform of 293.

Trying to fight the runaway inflation that he did not understand and to return people's faith in Roman coins, Diocletian did a complete overhaul of the Roman monetary system. He introduced a new theoretical base monetary unit called the denarius communis or d.c. (only rarely represented by actual coins, one example being old pre-Aurelian antoniniani still in circulation, valued now at 1 d. c., another – minted only on a small scale 1.5g coin with the reverse legend VTILITAS PVBLICA, "for public use"). Then he started minting new types of coins including a gold aureus of new purity and weight standard (1/60 pound of pure gold), a quality silver coin, argenteus, roughly similar to the early imperial denarius in size and weight, a new billon coin, of a copper alloy but with a small fraction of silver mostly in the form of coating, roughly similar to the old antoninianus when it was just introduced, however bearing now a laureate rather than a radiate bust. This type of coin is now commonly referred to as a follis or a nummus. Finally, a new radiate bronze coin, now referred to as a "radiate fraction" or a radiatus was introduced, similar to the early imperial aes in value, but much smaller in weight and size. There were also rare issues of ˝ and Ľ nummus coins, mostly in connection to some celebration. Interestingly, the obverses of these new coins were chosen to represent some identical "generic" image of a "good emperor" independent of the actual likeness of the August or Caesar in whose name they were issued, thus affirming the unity of all the tetrarchy rulers. Very roughly one may think of a new radiatus as a price of one loaf of bread, a new argenteus as a very good daily wage, and a new aureus as a price of a good horse. An approximate relationship between these units was as follows: 1 aureus ≈ 20 argentei ≈ 1000 d.c. (some scholars prefer 25 argentei and 1250 d.c.); 1 argenteus ≈ 5 nummi ≈ 50 d.c.; 1 nummus ≈ 5 radiati ≈ 10 d.c.; 1 radiatus ≈ 2 d.c. Of course we know that this reform was ineffective and inflation continued, so all these values were constantly shifting due to changing markets. Diocletian himself stopped minting argenteus in c. 305, and Constantine in his monetary reforms only re-established a new and highly successful gold standard, solidus (1/72 pound of pure gold, surprisingly actually first introduced also by Diocletian in 301, but only as a pilot version). As for billon and bronze coins, "folles" or "nummi", they were minted in all shapes and sizes all over the 4th century, often horribly debased by inflation, and their values at each point can only be guessed. It seems that in later times up to 1000 small bronze coins were sealed in a leather pouch to produce a reasonable unit of payment, thus giving rise to the name follis (lit. "bag" in Latin), which is now anachronistically applied to many billon and bronze coins of the late 3d and 4th century.
Yurii PMay 05, 2019
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Nerva Aequitas Ӕ As (c. 97 A.D.)8 viewsIMP NERVA CAES [AVG P M TR P ? COS ? P P], laureate head right / AEQVITAS AVGVST + S - C across fields, Aequitas standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae

Ӕ, oval 25+ to 28mm, 10.23g, die axis 7.5h, base metal seems yellow, orichalcum? Can it be a dupontius?

Mint: Rome. Regnal period is end 96 – Jan 98 AD, so 97 is the most probable minting year.

End of the obverse legend is missing, so TR P and COS numbers are unknown. Thus three types are possible:

TR P COS II --> RIC II 51, Sear 3060 var
TR P COS III --> RIC II 77, Cohen 7, BMC 127, Sear 3060
TR P II COS III --> RIC II 94, Cohen 10

IMPerator NERVA CAESar AVGustus Pontifex Maximus (the high priest, starting with Augustus the emperor was always the head of state religion) TRibunitia Potestas (Tribunal power, the function of the tribune of the people, originally an important republican official, was "hijacked" by Augustus when he was building the imperial structure of power and subsequently became another emperor's title, renewed every year and thus very useful for dating coins, no number means first year of reign, II second), COnSul (under the Empire, the office of Consul remained of some importance and was held by the Emperor with some frequency) II or III (Nerva started his 3d consulship in 97, so II would mean minting year of 96, he also became a consul for 98, but since he died in January, COS IIII is very rare), Pater Patriae (Father of his Country, the title was held by most Augusti but usually not at the very beginning of the reign, in this case it was probably assumed immediately because of Nerva's old age). Aequitas = justice, equality, conformity, symmetry. Nemesis was originally understood as honest distributor of fortune, neither bad nor good, but in due proportion. Later it gained aspects of justice and divine retribution, but in Nemesis-Aequitas her qualities of honest dealing is emphasized. Aequitas Augusti symbolizes honesty, equality and justice of the emperor towards his subjects. The scales here mean honest measure rather than justice, and the cornucopia is self explanatory. SC = [Ex] Senatus Consulto (Senatus is genitive, Consulto is ablative of Consultum) = by decree of the Senate, i. e. the authority of the Senate approved minting of this coin (necessary to justify issue of copper alloy coins for which the intrinsic value was not obvious). As or assarius – the basic Roman bronze coin, reintroduced and firmly established for centuries by Augustus (often minted of pure red copper).

On the obverse to the right of the neck there is a mysterious symbol (looks like a special field mint mark in LRB, but these were not used before 4th century I think), which is too far in to be a distorted letter of the legend.

NERVA, *8 Nov 30 (or 35) AD (Narni, central Italy) † 27 Jan 98 AD (aged 67 or 62) Gardens of Sallust, Rome ‡ 18 Sep 96 – 27 Jan 98 (effectively abdicated in autumn 97 naming Trajan as his successor)

Marcus Cocceius Nerva was born in the village of Narni, 50 kilometers north of Rome. Ancient sources report the date as either 30 or 35. He had at least one attested sister, named Cocceia, who married Lucius Salvius Titianus Otho, the brother of the earlier Emperor Otho. Like Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty, Nerva was a member of the Italian nobility rather than one of the elite of Rome. Nevertheless, the Cocceii were among the most esteemed and prominent political families of the late Republic and early Empire, attaining consulships in each successive generation. The direct ancestors of Nerva on his father's side, all named Marcus Cocceius Nerva, were associated with imperial circles from the time of Augustus.

Not much of Nerva's early life or career is recorded, but it appears he did not pursue the usual administrative or military career. He was praetor-elect in the year 65 and, like his ancestors, moved in imperial circles as a skilled diplomat and strategist. He received many high honors during the reign of Nero and Flavians, including two ordinary (!) consulships of 71 and 90, usually for services that remained unclear, so probably of highly delicate and clandestine nature, e. g. he played a prominent role of uncovering at least two major conspiracies against the ruling emperors. During 69, the transitional Year of the Four Emperors he was nowhere to be seen, but then emerged on the winning Flavian side, which was quite a feat for a former Neronian loyalist and a relative of one of the defeated emperors, Otho. It is also known that Nerva had excellent literary abilities praised by his contemporaries.

On 18 September, 96, Domitian was assassinated in a palace conspiracy organised by court officials. The same day the Senate proclaimed Nerva emperor in somewhat obscure circumstances. Modern historians believe Nerva was proclaimed Emperor solely on the initiative of the Senate, within hours after the news of the assassination broke, to avoid the inevitable civil unrest, and neither him nor the Senate had anything to do with the conspiracy. The change of government was welcome particularly to the senators, who had been harshly persecuted during Domitian's reign. As an immediate gesture of goodwill towards his supporters, Nerva publicly swore that no senators would be put to death as long as he remained in office. He called an end to trials based on treason, released those who had been imprisoned under these charges, and granted amnesty to many who had been exiled. All properties which had been confiscated by Domitian were returned to their respective families. Nerva also sought to involve the Senate in his government, but this was not entirely successful.

Nerva had to introduce a number of measures to gain support among the Roman populace. As was the custom by this time, a change of emperor was to bring with it a generous payment of gifts and money to the people and the army. This was followed by a string of economic reforms intended to alleviate the burden of taxation from the most needy Romans. Furthermore, numerous taxes were remitted and privileges granted to Roman provinces. Before long, Nerva's expenses strained the economy of Rome and necessitated the formation of a special commission of economy to drastically reduce expenditures. The most superfluous religious sacrifices, games and horse races were abolished, while new income was generated from Domitian's former possessions. Because he reigned only briefly, Nerva's public works were few, instead completing projects which had been initiated under Flavian rule. This included extensive repairs to the Roman road system and the expansion of the aqueducts. The only major landmarks constructed under Nerva were a granary, known as the Horrea Nervae, and a small Imperial Forum begun by Domitian, which linked the Forum of Augustus to the Temple of Peace.

Despite Nerva's measures to remain popular with the Senate and the Roman people, support for Domitian remained strong in the army, which led to problems. Upon his accession, he had ordered a halt to treason trials, but at the same time allowed the prosecution of informers by the Senate to continue. This measure led to chaos, as everyone acted in his own interests while trying to settle scores with personal enemies.

The situation was further aggravated by the absence of a clear successor, made more pressing because of Nerva's old age and sickness. In October 97 these tensions came to a head when the Praetorian Guard laid siege to the Imperial Palace and took Nerva hostage. He was forced to submit to their demands, agreeing to hand over those responsible for Domitian's death. Nerva was unharmed in this assault, but his authority was damaged beyond repair. He realized that his position was no longer tenable without the support of an heir who had the approval of both the army and the people. Shortly thereafter, he announced the adoption of Trajan as his successor, and with this decision all but abdicated.

On 1 January, 98, at the start of his fourth consulship, Nerva suffered a stroke during a private audience. Shortly thereafter he was struck by a fever and died. His largest legacies were avoiding the civil war after the fall of Flavians and establishing a new dynasty that ruled almost until the end of the 2nd century and achieved "the golden age" of the Roman empire.
Yurii PApr 27, 2019
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AE provincial, Saitta, Lydia (Sidas Kaleh, Turkey), Senate/River-God (mid-2nd to early 3d century AD) 5 viewsIЄΡA - [CYNKΛHTOC], bare-headed youthful draped bust of Senate right / CAIT[THNΩN] + [ЄPMOC] in exergue, River-God Hermos reclining left, holding reed and cornucopiae, resting arm on urn (hydria) from which waters flow.

Ӕ (base metal yellow, orichalcum?), 22 mm, 5.68 g, die axis 6.5h (coin alignment)

It is difficult to read the name of the river. I think that ЄPMOC is more likely, but VΛΛΟС is also possible, representing the other important local river, Hyllos.

Possible catalog references are BMC Lydia 25 (or 26-27?), SNG Copenhagen 398, SNG München 439.
For the Hyllos reverse, Leypold 1153.

To emphasize the autonomy of certain Hellenistic polises, even under the Roman rule they sometimes used allegorical figures of Senate or Demos on obverses of their coins instead of imperial portraits. Saitta was issuing similar-looking coins with busts of emperors and their family as well, but in this issue the town Senate is honoured as the ruler. IЄΡA CYNKΛHTOC = Holy Senate. CAITTHNΩN = Saitta, ЄPMOC = Hermos, the name of the river and its god.

River-Gods or Potamoi (Ποταμοί) were the gods of the rivers and streams of the earth, all sons of the great earth-encirling river Okeanos (Oceanus) and his wife Tethys. Their sisters were the Okeanides (Oceanids), goddesses of small streams, clouds and rain, and their daughters were the Naiades, nymphs of springs and fountains. A River-God was depicted in one of three forms: as a man-headed bull; a bull-horned man with the tail of a serpentine-fish in place of legs; or as a reclining man with an arm resting upon a pitcher pouring water, which we see in this case. The addition of cornucopia symbolizes the blessings that a particular river bestows on those who live near it.

Saitta or Saittae (Σαίτται, Ptolemy 5.2.21: Σέτται, Σάετται) was a polis in eastern Lydia (aka Maeonia), in the rivers' triangle between the upper Hyllus (modern Demirci Çayı, c. 12 km to the west) and the Hermus or Hermos (modern Gediz Nehri, c. 20 km to the south). In Roman imperial times it belonged to the "conventus" of Sardis in the Roman province of Asia (conventus was a territorial unit of a Roman province, mostly for judicial purposes).

Now its ruins are known now as Sidas Kaleh or Sidaskale in Turkey, near the village of İçikler (İcikler Mahallesi, 45900 Demirci/Manisa). They were never excavated, so are little known or cared for. Ruins of a stadium and a theatre survive, together with remains of some temples and tombs.

Not much is known about it. It was a regional centre for the production of textiles. In 124 AD the town was probably visited by emperor Hadrianus. During the Roman period the cult of the moon god Mēn Axiottenus was very popular in the city. Because of its reference to "angels" (both literally as the Greek word and by their function as god's messengers) it was possibly close to the more general Asia Minor cult of Theos Hypsistos, Θεος ὕψιστος, "the highest god" (200 BC – 400 AD), which in turn was perhaps related to the gentile following of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

Known Roman provincial coins issued by this city feature portraits of emperors from Hadrian to Gallienus, thus covering the period from 117 to 268 AD, with the peak around the Severan dynasty. The semi-autonomous issues are usually dated from mid-2nd to mid-3d century AD.

Later Saittae was the seat of a Byzantine bishopric. Bishop Limenius signed the Chalcedon Creed, while Bishop Amachius spoke at the Council of Chalcedon. Although an Islamic area now, Saittae remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.
Yurii PApr 17, 2019
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Caracalla AE provincial, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior (Nikyup, Bulgaria) (211 - 212 AD)16 viewsΑΥ Κ Μ ΑΥΡ – [ANTΩNINOC], laureate, draped bust right / Y ΦΛ OYΛΠIAN – NIKOΠOΛIT + ΠΡOC I in exergue, Nemesis-Aequitas standing left, holding scales in extended right hand and measuring rod (whip? sceptre?) in the crook of left arm, wheel at foot left.

Ӕ, 26 mm, 9.22 g, die axis 8h (turned coin)

I do not have access to any of the relevant provincial catalogs and cannot check any entries, but based on other similar coin descriptions on this site some numbers that may be close to this type are: AMNG I/1 1576-77, 1877-78; Varbanov (engl.) 3134, 3148, 3248; Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (HrHJ) No. 8.18.35.4-5, 8.18.35.8

AY[TOKPATΩΡ] K[AICAP] = Imperator Caesar, Μ[ΑΡΚΟC] ΑΥ[ΡΗΛΙΟC] ANTΩNINOC = Marcus Aurelius Antoninus aka "Caracalla". NIKOΠOΛIT[ΩN] PROC I[CTPΩN] ("πρός"="toward", but also "near to", like Latin "ad"; Istros = the lower Danube). ΦΛ OYΛΠIAN = Flavius Ulpianus, who was Roman governor of Lower Moesia (Moesia Inferior) starting from 210 to about 213. Before 211 Septimius Severus was still in charge; Caracalla visited the city in 211-212, was displeased with it and closed the mint (it was reopened only after his death), so the likely minting years are 211-212. All governors of Lower Moesia had titles on coins of either ΗΓ[ΕΜΟΝΑΣ] (governor of equestrian rank) or ΥΠ[ΑΤΕΥΟΝΤΟΣ] of the province (ΤΗΣ ΕΠΑΡΧΕΙΑΣ) (consular legate of senatorial rank). Y before the name of Flavius Ulpianus indicates the latter.

Aequitas = justice, equality, conformity, symmetry. Nemesis was originally understood as honest distributor of fortune, neither bad nor good, but in due proportion. Later it gained aspects of justice and divine retribution, but in Nemesis-Aequitas her qualities of honest dealing is emphasized. It symbolizes honesty, equality and justice of the emperor towards his subjects. The scales here mean honest measure rather than justice, the long stick she carries is most probably a measuring rod, but may also be a whip (symbol of punishment) or a sceptre (symbol of imperial power). The wheel may be the Wheel of Fortune (Rota Fortunae), but may also just symbolize equality.

CARACALLA, *4 April 188 Lugdunum (Lyon, France) † 8 April 217 (aged 29) road between Edessa and Carrhae ‡ 26 Dec 211 – 8 Apr 217 (not counting joint rule with his father and brother)

His birth name was Lucius Septimius Bassianus, then he was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus at the age of 7 as part of his father's attempt at union with the families of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He got the agnomen "Caracalla" after a Gallic hooded tunic that he habitually wore and made fashionable. He was also referred to as Tarautas, after a famously diminutive and violent gladiator of the time. The firstborn of the famous imperial couple Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, he was groomed to be emperor together with his brother Geta. They both were given titles of Caesars and even full Augusti before their father's death. But it was not going to happen, since the brothers hated each other. In 202 Caracalla was forced to marry the daughter of Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, Fulvia Plautilla, he immediately grew to hate them both. By 205 Caracalla had succeeded in having Plautianus executed for treason, probably fabricating the evidence of the plot himself. Then he banished his wife together with his own baby daughter first to Sicily and then to the largest of the Aeolian islands, Lipari. As soon as his father died, Caracalla ordered to strangle them both.

Septimius Severus died on 4 February 211 at Eboracum (present day York) while on campaign in Caledonia, north of Roman Britannia. Caracalla and Geta jointly ended the campaign by concluding a peace that returned the border to the line demarcated by Hadrian's Wall. During the journey back to Rome they continuously argued and finally decided to divide the empire, Caracalla was to rule in the west and Geta -- the east. They were persuaded not to do this, but their hostility was only increasing. On 26 December 211, at a reconciliation meeting arranged by their mother, Caracalla had Geta assassinated by members of the Praetorian Guard loyal to himself, Geta dying in his mother's arms. Caracalla then persecuted and executed most of Geta's supporters and ordered a damnatio memoriae pronounced by the Senate against his brother's memory. Geta's image was removed from all paintings, coins were melted down, statues were destroyed, his name was struck from papyrus records, and it became a capital offence to speak or write Geta's name. In the aftermath of the damnatio memoriae, an estimated 20,000 people were massacred. Those killed were Geta's inner circle of guards and advisers, friends, and other military staff under his employ.

In 213, about a year after Geta's death, Caracalla left Rome never to return. He went north to the German frontier to deal with restless Germanic tribes through wars and diplomacy. While there, Caracalla strengthened the frontier fortifications of Raetia and Germania Superior, collectively known as the Agri Decumates, so that it was able to withstand any further barbarian invasions for another twenty years. Then it became evident that he was preoccupied with Alexander the Great. He began openly mimicking Alexander in his personal style and started planning an invasion of "Persia", the Parthian Empire. He even arranged 16,000 of his men in Macedonian-style phalanxes, despite this foration being obsolete for centuries. Caracalla's mania for Alexander went so far that he persecuted philosophers of the Aristotelian school based on a legend that Aristotle had poisoned Alexander. This was a sign of Caracalla's increasingly erratic behaviour. When the inhabitants of Alexandria heard of Caracalla's claims that he had killed his brother Geta in self-defence, they produced a satire mocking this as well as Caracalla's other pretensions. So in 215 Caracalla travelled to Alexandria and responded to this insult by slaughtering the deputation of leading citizens who had unsuspectingly assembled before the city to greet his arrival, before setting his troops against Alexandria for several days of looting and plunder. Following the massacre at Alexandria, Caracalla moved east into Armenia. By 216 he had pushed through Armenia and south into Parthia and pursued a series of aggressive campaigns in the east against the Parthians, intended to bring more territory under direct Roman control. In the following winter, Caracalla retired to Edessa (Şanlıurfa, south-east Turkey) and began making preparations to renew the campaign by spring. On 8 April 217 Caracalla was travelling to visit a temple near Carrhae (Harran, southern Turkey), where in 53 BC the Romans had suffered a defeat at the hands of the Parthians. After stopping briefly to urinate, Caracalla was approached by a soldier, Justin Martialis, and stabbed to death. Martialis had been incensed by Caracalla's refusal to grant him the position of centurion, and the Praetorian Guard Prefect Macrinus, Caracalla's successor, saw the opportunity to use Martialis to end Caracalla's reign. In the immediate aftermath of Caracalla's death, his murderer, Martialis, was killed as well. Three days later, Macrinus declared himself emperor with the support of the Roman army.

Caracalla's reign was marked by domestic instability, the massacres he enacted against the people of Rome and elsewhere in the empire, and external invasions from the Germanic people. Surprisingly for such a brute, Caracalla was also notable for some statesmanship, perhaps due to some help of his mother, who stayed in Rome and performed many administrative duties in her son's absence. The most famous is the Antonine Constitution (Constitutio Antoniniana), aka the Edict of Caracalla, which granted Roman citizenship to nearly all freemen throughout the Roman Empire. The edict gave all the enfranchised men Caracalla's adopted praenomen and nomen: "Marcus Aurelius". Domestically, Caracalla was known for the construction of the Baths of Caracalla, which became the second-largest baths in Rome, and building a temple to Serapis, Graeco-Egyptian god of healing, whom he thought to be his divine patron, on the Quirinal Hill. The numismatists will always remember him because of the introduction of a new Roman coin denomination, currently designated "antoninianus" after him. The reduced silver purity of the new coins caused people to hoard the old denarii and thanks to this now we can enjoy lots of well-preserved early Roman silver coins.

Caracalla was one of the cruellest and most tyrannical Roman emperors. That was why in the 18th century Caracalla's memory was revived in the works of French artists trying to draw the parallels between him and King Louis XVI. But there were also other narratives surrounding his name: in the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth started the legend of "Bassianus" as the king of Britain, who won the kingship by fighting his brother over it.
Yurii PMar 16, 2019
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Septimius Severus14 viewsReconstructed bust based on denarius
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-152210

Corrosion removed and slightly enhanced.
Yurii PJan 03, 2019
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L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP [VIIII?] / P M TR P V COS II P P / Septimius Severus Fortuna denarius (197 AD) 17 viewsL SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP [VIIII?], laureate head right / P M TR P V COS II P P, Fortuna standing left, holding rudder on globe in right hand, cornucopiae in left.

AR (post 196 mint, so probably 54% purity), 17 mm, 3.48g, die axis 12h.

Both small flan and image style (bust, wreath, shape of the rudder etc.) point towards the mint of Rome rather than the Eastern one. A bit heavier than expected (the standard supposed to be 3.41g), but WildWinds reports a 3.63g denarius of this type. Unfortunately it is impossible to read the number after IMP (it can be either VIIII or X for TR P V), but based on the spacing and, perhaps, a hint of V I think it is VIIII. So this must be RIC IV 104, BMCRE 229, RSC 442 type. Two other, less probable ID possibilities: RIC 115A (Rome, IMP X) and RIC 493 (Eastern mint, Laodicea ad Mare(?) IMP VIIII).

Lucius SEPTimius SEVeverus PERTinax AVGustus IMPerator (in this case not just an imperial title, but a military one, "invested with the Nth imperial acclaim", a victorious general, the number refers to important victories when the title was renewed); Pontifex Maximus (the high priest, starting with Augustus the emperor was always the head of state religion) TRibunitia Potestas (Tribunal power, the function of the tribune of the people, originally an important republican official, was "hijacked" by Augustus when he was building the imperial structure of power and subsequently became another emperor's title, renewed every year and thus very useful for dating coins) V (5th year means 193+4=197, give or take the actual date of renewing the title), COnSul (under the Empire, the office of Consul remained of some importance and was held by the Emperor with some frequency) II (during or after the consulship of 194 and before next one in 202), Pater Patriae (Father of his Country, the title was held by most Augusti but was usually not assumed at the very beginning of the reign). Denarius was the staple of Roman monetary system from 211 BC to mid 3d century AD.

SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS, *11 Apr 145 in Leptis Magna (Khoms, Libya) † 4 Feb 211 (aged 65) Eboracum (York, England) ‡ 14 April 193 – 4 February 211

Septimius Severus was born in the Roman province of Africa. He came from a wealthy and distinguished family of equestrian rank, had Roman ancestry on his mother's side (gens Fulvia was one of the most famous plebeian clans in Rome) and descended from Punic, and perhaps also Libyan, forebears on his father's side. Several members of his family held important imperial offices (although, strangely, not his father who seemed to have no career to speak about). He was trilingual, speaking Punic, Latin and Greek, and got some classical education, but probably less than he wanted to. At 17 he was helped by his influential relatives to relocate to Rome, to be presented to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and start his political career. With some difficulty he started to advance through the cursus honorum, holding a variety of offices. His career was helped by the Antonine Plague of 166, Septimius avoided it by returning to Leptis Magna for a while, and when he was back in Rome he found his competition conveniently thinned out. Despite him going through an impressive number of offices in a very short time there is very little record of his actual accomplishments in 170s and 180s.

In 191 Severus was appointed governor of Pannonia Superior (one of the provinces on Danube frontier) by Emperor Commodus (on advice from one of Septimius' friends). When the hell was unleashed by the assassination of Commodus on 31 December 192 and 193, , the infamous Year of the Five Emperors started, as a general in charge of significant army Severus was able to fight for the highest office. While he moved on Rome, Pertinax, the first Emperor of 193, was killed by the Praetorian Guard, and the next one, Didius Julianus, who famously bought the emperorship at an auction, was condemned by the Senate and executed, so Septimius entered Rome virtually unopposed. He then wisely appeased the powerful governor of Britannia, Clodius Albinus, who was also proclaimed the Emperor, by offering him the title of Caesar, which implied some degree of co-ruling and a chance to succession (Albinus did not give up that easy, reasserting his claim in three years, but then he was easily dealt with at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul). Afterwards he had to fight off the final pretender, Pescennius Niger, the former governor of Syria, who was proclaimed the Emperor by the eastern legions. Losing no time, Severus sent a considerable vanguard force to the East and, later, joined in with additional armies. In a series of battles in 193-195 Niger and his supporters were defeated. The last to surrender was Byzantium, which held even after the head of Niger was sent there. It is interesting to note that during this campaign Septimius visited the tomb of his famous fellow countryman, Hannibal Barca in Libyssa (Gebze, Turkey) and ordered to cover it with fine marble. Severus also took an opportunity to wage a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province.

After consolidating his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris. He then enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202 he campaigned in Africa and Mauretania against the Garamantes; capturing their capital Garama and expanding the Limes Tripolitanus along the southern desert frontier of the empire. In 208 he travelled to Britain, strengthening Hadrian's Wall and reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In the same year he invaded Caledonia (modern Scotland), but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill in late 210, dying in early 211 at Eboracum (York, England), and was succeeded by his sons Caracalla and Geta, thus founding the Severan dynasty. It was the last dynasty of the Roman empire before the Crisis of the Third Century.

In the context of this coin it is interesting to note, that, due to huge military expenses, upon his accession Severus decreased the silver purity of the denarius from 81.5% to 78.5%, although the silver weight actually increased, rising from 2.40 grams to 2.46 grams. Nevertheless, the following year he debased the denarius again because of rising military expenditures. The silver purity decreased from 78.5% to 64.5% – the silver weight dropping from 2.46 grams to 1.98 grams. In 196 he reduced the purity and silver weight of the denarius again, to 54% and 1.82 grams respectively [corresponds to this issue]. Severus' currency debasement was the largest since the reign of Nero.
Yurii PJan 03, 2019
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Durotrigan Bi "Durotrigan E" or "Cranbourne Chase" type stater, region: South Britain (Dorset), c. 58 BC - 43 AD 11 viewsFlan oval, flat, pellets well defined, sharp.
18x16mm, 1+mm thick, 2.01g
Die axis: ~3h (Greek), assuming traditional diagonal wreath position with "eyes" right
Material: billon of unknown silver and other metal content.

Obverse: devolved head of a god (Celtic "Apollo") right , reverse: disjointed horse / chariot left with 12 pellets above and 1 below (possibly indicating 12+1 lunar months in a solar year)

Peculiarities in this case: small flan, so most of design does not fit onto it, probably indicating very late production, flatness (possibly due to later damage?), left "eye" well corresponds to "crook", but "crook" is not well defined, more like a "brow".

For more info on this type see:
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-152028
Yurii PDec 28, 2018
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Durotrigan Bi "Durotrigan E" or "Cranbourne Chase" type stater, region: South Britain (Dorset), c. 58 BC - 43 AD11 viewsFlan roughly circular, obverse convex, reverse concave.
18.5mm, 1.5+mm thick, 2.82g
Die axis: ~3h (Greek), assuming traditional diagonal wreath position with "eyes" right
Material: billon of unknown silver and other metal content.

Obverse: devolved head of a god (Celtic "Apollo") right , reverse: disjointed horse / chariot left with 12 pellets above and 1 below (possibly indicating 12+1 lunar months in a solar year)

The design is loosely based on golden staters of Philip II of Macedon with laureate head of Apollo on obverse and a charioteer driving a biga (Mediterranean two-horse chariot) on reverse.

References: Durotrigan E, Cranbourne Chase type, BMC 2525-2731, Mack 317-318, Sp 367, RDVA 1235-1237 etc.

Peculiarities in this case: small flan, so most of design does not fit onto it, probably indicating very late production, no usual correspondence between the "crook" crossing the "wreath" and the "left eye", pellets large and flat, obverse significantly off center, ornaments left to "cheek" clearly visible.

The Durotriges were one of the Celtic (possibly even pre-Celtic) tribes living in Britain prior to the Roman invasion. The tribe lived in modern Dorset, south Wiltshire, south Somerset and Devon east of the River Axe and the discovery of an Iron Age hoard in 2009 at Shalfleet, Isle of Wight gives evidence that they lived in the western half of the island. After the Roman conquest, their main civitates, or settlement-centred administrative units, were Durnovaria (modern Dorchester, "the probable original capital") and Lindinis (modern Ilchester, "whose former, unknown status was thereby enhanced"). Their territory was bordered to the west by the Dumnonii; and to the east by the Belgae.

Durotriges were more a tribal confederation than a tribe. They were one of the groups that issued coinage before the Roman conquest, part of the cultural "periphery" round the "core group" of Britons in the south. These coins were rather simple and had no inscriptions. The Durotriges presented a settled society, based in the farming of lands surrounded and controlled by strong hill forts that were still in use in 43 AD. Maiden Castle is a preserved example of one of these hill forts.

The area of the Durotriges is identified in part by coin finds: few Durotrigan coins are found in the "core" area, where they were apparently unacceptable and were reminted. To their north and east were the Belgae, beyond the Avon and its tributary Wylye: "the ancient division is today reflected in the county division between Wiltshire and Somerset." Their main outlet for the trade across the Channel, strong in the first half of the 1st century BC, when the potter's wheel was introduced, then drying up in the decades before the advent of the Romans, was at Hengistbury Head. Numismatic evidence shows progressive debasing of the coinage, suggesting economic retrenchment accompanying the increased cultural isolation. Analysis of the body of Durotrigan ceramics suggests that the production was increasingly centralised, at Poole Harbour. Burial of Durotriges was by inhumation, with a last ritual meal provided even under exiguous circumstances, as in the eight burials at Maiden Castle, carried out immediately after the Roman attack.

Not surprisingly, the Durotriges resisted Roman invasion in AD 43, and the historian Suetonius records some fights between the tribe and the second legion Augusta, then commanded by Vespasian. By 70 AD, the tribe was already Romanised and securely included in the Roman province of Britannia. In the tribe’s area, the Romans explored some quarries and supported a local pottery industry.

The Durotriges, and their relationship with the Roman Empire, form the basis for an ongoing archaeological research project (https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/project/the-durotriges-project/) directed by Paul Cheetham, Ellen Hambleton and Miles Russell of Bournemouth University. The Durotriges Project has, since 2009, been reconsidering the Iron Age to Roman transition through a detailed programme of field survey, geophysical investigation and targeted excavation.
Yurii PDec 27, 2018
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FAVSTINA AVGVSTA / AVGVSTI PII FIL / Ӕ As or Dupontius (156-161 A.D.)11 viewsFAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair arranged in a chignon (bun) behind the head / AVGVSTI PII FIL, Venus standing left holding Victory and leaning on shield set on a helmet, S-C across fields in the lower half.

Ӕ, 23-24mm, 9.15g, die axis 11h

Another of this type:
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-151025
See more info there.

Their comparison:
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-151893
Yurii PDec 26, 2018
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Comparison of two ases of the same type: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA / AVGVSTI PII FIL 19 viewsLeft: Ӕ, 22.5-24+mm, 9.56g, die axis 11h
Right: Ӕ, 23-24mm, 9.15g, die axis 11h

FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair arranged in a chignon (bun) behind the head / AVGVSTI PII FIL, Venus standing left holding Victory and leaning on shield set on a helmet, S-C across fields in the lower half

Seems RIC 1389a, Faustina Minor issue by Antoninus Pius, minted in Rome, possible minting dates 145-146 or 156-161.

For more details about Faustina Minor see http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-151025
Yurii PDec 20, 2018
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"As de Nîmes" or "crocodile" Ӕ dupondius of Nemausus (9 - 3 BC), honoring Augustus and Agrippa34 viewsIMP DIVI F , Heads of Agrippa (left) and Augustus (right) back to back, Agrippa wearing rostral crown and Augustus the oak-wreath / COL NEM, crocodile right chained to palm-shoot with short dense fronds and tip right; two short palm offshoots left and right below, above on left a wreath with two long ties streaming right.

Ӕ, 24.5 x 3+ mm, 13.23g, die axis 3h; on both sides there are remains of what appears to be gold plating, perhaps it was a votive offering? Rough edges and slight scrapes on flan typical for this kind of coin, due to primitive technology (filing) of flan preparation.

IMPerator DIVI Filius. Mint of COLonia NEMausus (currently Nîmes, France). Known as "As de Nîmes", it is actually a dupontius (lit. "two-pounder") = 2 ases (sometimes cut in halves to get change). Dupondii were often made out of a golden-colored copper alloy (type of brass) "orichalcum" and this appears to be such case.

Key ID points: oak-wreath (microphotography shows that at least one leaf has a complicated shape, although distinguishing oak from laurel is very difficult) – earlier versions have Augustus bareheaded, no PP on obverse as in later versions, no NE ligature, palm with short fronds with tip right (later versions have tip left and sometimes long fronds). Not typical: no clear laurel wreath together with the rostral crown, gold (?) plating (!), both features really baffling.

But still clearly a "middle" kind of the croc dupondius, known as "type III": RIC I 158, RPC I 524, Sear 1730. It is often conservatively dated to 10 BC - 10 AD, but these days it is usually narrowed to 9/8 - 3 BC.

It is a commemorative issue, honoring the victory over Mark Antony and conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. The heads of Augustus and Agrippa were probably positioned to remind familiar obverses of Roman republican coins with two-faced Janus. Palm branch was a common symbol of victory, in this case grown into a tree, like the victories of Augustus and Agrippa grown into the empire. The two offshoots at the bottom may mean two sons of Agrippa, Gaius and Lucius, who were supposed to be Augustus' heirs and were patrons of the colony. Palm may also be a symbol of the local Nemausian deity, which was probably worshiped in a sacred grove. When these coins were minted, the colony was mostly populated by the settled veterans of Augustus' campaigns, hence the reminiscence of the most famous victory, but some of the original Celtic culture probably survived and was assimilated by Romans. The crocodile is not only the symbol of Egypt, like in the famous Octavian's coins AEGYPTO CAPTA. It is also a representation of Mark Antony, powerful and scary both in water and on land, but a bit slow and stupid. The shape of the crocodile with tail up was specifically chosen to remind of the shape of ship on very common "legionary" denarius series, which Mark Antony minted to pay his armies just before Actium. It is probably also related to the popular contemporary caricature of Cleopatra, riding on and simultaneously copulating with a crocodile, holding a palm branch in her hand as if in triumph. There the crocodile also symbolized Mark Antony.

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was born c. 64-62 BC somewhere in rural Italy. His family was of humble and plebeian origins, but rich, of equestrian rank. Agrippa was about the same age as Octavian, and the two were educated together and became close friends. He probably first served in Caesar's Spanish campaign of 46–45 BC. Caesar regarded him highly enough to send him with Octavius in 45 BC to train in Illyria. When Octavian returned to Rome after Caesar's assassination, Agrippa became his close lieutenant, performing many tasks. He probably started his political career in 43 BC as a tribune of the people and then a member of the Senate. Then he was one of the leading Octavian's generals, finally becoming THE leading general and admiral in the civil wars of the subsequent years.

In 38 as a governor of Transalpine Gaul Agrippa undertook an expedition to Germania, thus becoming the first Roman general since Julius Caesar to cross the Rhine. During this foray he helped the Germanic tribe of Ubii (who previously allied themselves with Caesar in 55 BC) to resettle on the west bank of the Rhine. A shrine was dedicated there, possibly to Divus Caesar whom Ubii fondly remembered, and the village became known as Ara Ubiorum, "Altar of Ubians". This quickly would become an important Roman settlement. Agrippina the Younger, Agrippa's granddaughter, wife of Emperor Claudius and mother of Emperor Nero, would be born there in 15 AD. In 50 AD she would sponsor this village to be upgraded to a colonia, and it would be renamed Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (colony of Claudius [at] the Altar of Agrippinians – Ubii renamed themselves as Agrippinians to honor the augusta!), abbreviated as CCAA, later to become the capital of new Roman province, Germania Inferior.

In 37 BC Octavian recalled Agrippa back to Rome and arranged for him to win the consular elections, he desperately needed help in naval warfare with Sextus Pompey, the youngest son of Pompey the Great, who styled himself as the last supporter of the republican cause, but in reality became a pirate king, an irony since his father was the one who virtually exterminated piracy in all the Roman waters. He forced humiliating armistice on the triumvirs in 39 BC and when Octavian renewed the hostilities a year later, defeated him in a decisive naval battle of Messina. New fleet had to be built and trained, and Agrippa was the man for the job. Agrippa's solution was creating a huge secret naval base he called Portus Iulius by connecting together lakes Avernus, Avernus and the natural inner and outer harbors behind Cape Misenum at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples. He also created a larger type of ship and developed a new naval weapon: harpax – a ballista-launched grapnel shot with mechanisms that allowed pulling enemy ships close for easy boarding. It replaced the previous boarding device that Romans used since the First Punic War, corvus – effective, but extremely cumbersome. A later defence against it were scythe blades on long poles for cutting ropes, but since this invention was developed in secret, the enemy had no chance to prepare anything like it. It all has proved extremely effective: in a series of naval engagements Agrippa annihilated the fleet of Sextus, forced him to abandon his bases and run away. For this Agrippa was awarded an unprecedented honour that no Roman before or after him received: a rostral crown, "corona rostrata", a wreath decorated in front by a prow and beak of a ship.

That's why Virgil (Aeneid VIII, 683-684), describing Agrippa at Actium, says: "…belli insigne superbum, tempora navali fulgent rostrata corona." "…the proud military decoration, gleams on his brow the naval rostral crown". Actium, the decisive battle between forces of Octavian and Mark Antony, may appear boring compared to the war with Sextus, but it probably turned out this way due to Agrippa's victories in preliminary naval engagements and taking over all the strategy from Octavian.

In between the wars Agrippa has shown an unusual talent in city planning, not only constructing many new public buildings etc., but also greatly improving Rome's sanitation by doing a complete overhaul of all the aqueducts and sewers. Typically, it was Augustus who later would boast that "he had found the city of brick but left it of marble", forgetting that, just like in his naval successes, it was Agrippa who did most of the work. Agrippa had building programs in other Roman cities as well, a magnificent temple (currently known as Maison Carrée) survives in Nîmes itself, which was probably built by Agrippa.

Later relationship between Augustus and Agrippa seemed colder for a while, Agrippa seemed to even go into "exile", but modern historians agree that it was just a ploy: Augustus wanted others to think that Agrippa was his "rival" while in truth he was keeping a significant army far away from Rome, ready to come to the rescue in case Augustus' political machinations fail. It is confirmed by the fact that later Agrippa was recalled and given authority almost equal to Augustus himself, not to mention that he married Augustus' only biological child. The last years of Agrippa's life were spent governing the eastern provinces, were he won respect even of the Jews. He also restored Crimea to Roman Empire. His last service was starting the conquest of the upper Danube, were later the province of Pannonia would be. He suddenly died of illness in 12 BC, aged ~51.

Agrippa had several children through his three marriages. Through some of his children, Agrippa would become ancestor to many subsequent members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He has numerous other legacies.
Yurii PDec 08, 2018
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FAVSTINA AVGVSTA / AVGVSTI PII FIL / Ӕ As or Dupontius (156-161 A.D.)20 viewsFAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair arranged in a chignon (bun) behind the head / AVGVSTI PII FIL, Venus standing left holding Victory and leaning on shield set on a helmet, S-C across fields in the lower half

Ӕ, 22.5-24+mm, 9.56g, die axis 11h

There may be a countermark across the front part of the face on obverse, but due to its location it is difficult to be sure and identify it.

AVGVSTI PII FIL(ia) = daughter of August Antoninus Pius, points out to the ruling of Fausta's father Antoninus Pius rather than her husband Marcus Aurelius. Reverse: Unlike Greek Aphrodite, in addition to her other aspects Roman Venus was also a goddess of victory, this embodied in her representation as Venus Victrix (Victorious) or Victris (of Victory), like in this case: she offers a little winged representation of victory, resting on defensive military attributes (as a female goddess, she represented passive, defensive aspects of war, active ones being the domain of male Mars). SC = [Ex] Senatus Consulto (Senatus is genitive, Consulto is ablative of Consultum) = by decree of the Senate, i. e. the authority of the Senate approved minting of this coin (necessary to justify issue of copper alloy coins for which the intrinsic value was not obvious).

Of two Ӕ coins with the same legends and Venus with shield, RIC 1367 and 1389a, the first is a sestertius and its typical dimensions are characteristic of the type: 30+ mm and 20+g. This one is definitely smaller. Material seems reddish, so this one is more likely an as. Minted in Rome. Some sources give issue dates as 156-161 (the end of Faustina's father's reign), others as 145-146 (her marriage).

Annia Galeria Faustina Minor (Minor is Latin for the Younger), Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger (born probably 21 September c. 130 CE, died in winter of 175 or spring of 176 CE) was a daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and Roman Empress Faustina the Elder. She was a Roman Empress and wife to her maternal cousin Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. She was held in high esteem by soldiers and her own husband and was given divine honours after her death. Faustina, named after her mother, was her parents' fourth and youngest child and their second daughter; she was also their only child to survive to adulthood. She was born and raised in Rome. Her great uncle, the emperor Hadrian, had arranged with her father for Faustina to marry Lucius Verus. On 25 February 138, she and Verus were betrothed. Verus’ father was Hadrian’s first adopted son and his intended heir; however, when Verus’ father died, Hadrian chose Faustina’s father to be his second adopted son, and eventually, successor. Faustina’s father ended the engagement between his daughter and Verus and arranged for Faustina's betrothal to her maternal cousin, Marcus Aurelius; Aurelius was also adopted by her father.

In April or May 145, Faustina and Marcus Aurelius were married, as had been planned since 138. Since Aurelius was, by adoption, Antoninus Pius' son, under Roman law he was marrying his sister; Antoninus would have had to formally release one or the other from his paternal authority (his patria potestas) for the ceremony to take place. Little is specifically known of the ceremony, but it is said to have been "noteworthy". Coins were issued with the heads of the couple, and Antoninus, as Pontifex Maximus, would have officiated. Marcus makes no apparent reference to the marriage in his surviving letters, and only sparing references to Faustina. Faustina was given the title of Augusta on 1 December 147 after the birth of her first child, Galeria Faustina (or Domitia? sources differ which of them was born in 147 and was the first child).

When Antoninus died on 7 March 161, Marcus and Lucius Verus ascended to the throne and became co-rulers. Faustina then became empress. Unfortunately, not much has survived from the Roman sources regarding Faustina's life, but what is available does not give a good report. Cassius Dio and the Augustan History accuse Faustina of ordering deaths by poison and execution; she has also been accused of instigating the revolt of Avidius Cassius against her husband. The Augustan History mentions adultery with sailors, gladiators, and men of rank; however, Faustina and Aurelius seem to have been very close and mutually devoted.

Faustina accompanied her husband on various military campaigns and enjoyed the love and reverence of Roman soldiers. Aurelius gave her the title of Mater Castrorum or ‘Mother of the Camp’. She attempted to make her home out of an army camp. Between 170–175, she was in the north, and in 175, she accompanied Aurelius to the east.

That same year, 175, Aurelius's general Avidius Cassius was proclaimed Roman emperor after the erroneous news of Marcus's death; the sources indicate Cassius was encouraged by Marcus's wife Faustina, who was concerned about her husband's failing health, believing him to be on the verge of death, and felt the need for Cassius to act as a protector in this event, since her son Commodus, aged 13, was still young. She also wanted someone who would act as a counterweight to the claims of Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus, who was in a strong position to take the office of Princeps in the event of Marcus’s death. The evidence, including Marcus's own Meditations, supports the idea that Marcus was indeed quite ill, but by the time Marcus recovered, Cassius was already fully acclaimed by the Egyptian legions of II Traiana Fortis and XXII Deiotariana. "After a dream of empire lasting three months and six days", Cassius was murdered by a centurion; his head was sent to Marcus Aurelius, who refused to see it and ordered it buried. Egypt recognized Marcus as emperor again by 28 July 175.

Faustina died in the winter of 175, after a somewhat suspicious accident, at the military camp in Halala (a city in the Taurus Mountains in Cappadocia). Aurelius grieved much for his wife and buried her in the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome. She was deified: her statue was placed in the Temple of Venus in Rome and a temple was dedicated to her in her honor. Halala’s name was changed to Faustinopolis and Aurelius opened charity schools for orphan girls called Puellae Faustinianae or 'Girls of Faustina'. The Baths of Faustina in Miletus are named after her.

In their thirty years of marriage, Faustina bore Marcus Aurelius thirteen children, of whom 6 reached adulthood and were significant in history. The best known are emperor Commodus and the closest to him sister Lucilla (both depicted in a very historically inaccurate movie "Gladiator" and, together with their parents, in a much more accurate 1st season "Reign of Blood" of the TV series "Roman Empire").
Yurii PNov 17, 2018
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IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG / P M S COL VIM / Ӕ30 (239-240 AD)18 viewsIMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right / P M S CO - L VIM, personification of Moesia standing facing, head left, arms outstretched over a lion (right) and a bull (left). AN • I • in exergue.

Ӕ, 29-30+mm, 16.75g, die axis 1h (slightly turned medal alignment), material: looks like red copper.

IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG = Imperator Caesar Marcus Antonius Gordianus Augustus, P M S COL VIM = Provinciae Moesiae Superioris Colonia Viminacium = Colony of Viminacium, in the province of Upper Moesia, AN•I• = the first year. 238 AD was the infamous "year of the 6 emperors", so 239-240 was the first sole ruling year of Gordian III. The bull is the symbol of Legio VII Claudia, based in the capital of Moesia Superior, Viminacium itself, and the lion is the symbol of Legio IV Flavia Felix based in another city of Moesia Superior, Singidunum (modern Belgrade). Due to size this is most probably a sestertius, but large dupondius is another possibility, since it is clearly made of red copper and sestertii were typically made of expensive "gold-like" orichalcum, a kind of brass (but in this time of civil strife they could have used a cheaper replacement). Literature fails to clearly identify the denomination of this type.

A straightforward ID due to size and clear legends, this is AMNG 71; Martin 1.01.1 minted in Viminacium, Moesia Superior (Kostolac, Serbia).

Gordian III was Roman Emperor from 238 AD to 244 AD. At the age of 13, he became the youngest sole legal Roman emperor throughout the existence of the united Roman Empire. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Very little is known of his early life before his acclamation. Gordian had assumed the name of his maternal grandfather in 238 AD.

In 235, following the murder of Emperor Alexander Severus, Maximinus Thrax was acclaimed Emperor. In the following years, there was a growing opposition against Maximinus in the Roman senate and amongst the majority of the population of Rome. In 238 (to become infamous as "the year of six emperors") a rebellion broke out in the Africa Province, where Gordian's grandfather and uncle, Gordian I and II, were proclaimed joint emperors. This revolt was suppressed within a month by Cappellianus, governor of Numidia and a loyal supporter of Maximinus Thrax. The elder Gordians died, but public opinion cherished their memory as peace-loving and literate men, victims of Maximinus' oppression.

Meanwhile, Maximinus was on the verge of marching on Rome and the Senate elected Pupienus and Balbinus as joint emperors. These senators were not popular and the population of Rome was still shocked by the elder Gordians' fate, so the Senate decided to take the teenage Gordian, rename him Marcus Antonius Gordianus like his grandfather, and raise him to the rank of Caesar and imperial heir. Pupienus and Balbinus defeated Maximinus, mainly due to the defection of several legions, particularly the II Parthica, who assassinated Maximinus. However, their joint reign was doomed from the start with popular riots, military discontent and an enormous fire that consumed Rome in June 238. On July 29, Pupienus and Balbinus were killed by the Praetorian Guard and Gordian proclaimed sole emperor.

Due to Gordian's age, the imperial government was surrendered to the aristocratic families, who controlled the affairs of Rome through the Senate. In 240, Sabinianus revolted in the African province, but the situation was quickly brought under control. In 241, Gordian was married to Furia Sabinia Tranquillina, daughter of the newly appointed praetorian prefect, Timesitheus. As chief of the Praetorian Guard and father in law of the Emperor, Timesitheus quickly became the de facto ruler of the Roman Empire.

In the 3rd century, the Roman frontiers weakened against the Germanic tribes across the Rhine and Danube, and the Sassanid Empire across the Euphrates increased its own attacks. When the Persians under Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia, the young emperor opened the doors of the Temple of Janus for the last time in Roman history, and sent a large army to the East. The Sassanids were driven back over the Euphrates and defeated in the Battle of Resaena (243). The campaign was a success and Gordian, who had joined the army, was planning an invasion of the enemy's territory, when his father-in-law died in unclear circumstances. Without Timesitheus, the campaign, and the Emperor's security, were at risk.

Gaius Julius Priscus and, later on, his own brother Marcus Julius Philippus, also known as Philip the Arab, stepped in at this moment as the new Praetorian Prefects and the campaign proceeded. Around February 244, the Persians fought back fiercely to halt the Roman advance to Ctesiphon. Persian sources claim that a battle occurred (Battle of Misiche) near modern Fallujah (Iraq) and resulted in a major Roman defeat and the death of Gordian III. Roman sources do not mention this battle and suggest that Gordian died far away from Misiche, at Zaitha (Qalat es Salihiyah) in northern Mesopotamia. Modern scholarship does not unanimously accept this course of the events. One view holds that Gordian died at Zaitha, murdered by his frustrated army, while the role of Philip is unknown. Other scholars have concluded that Gordian died in battle against the Sassanids.
Philip transferred the body of the deceased emperor to Rome and arranged for his deification. Gordian's youth and good nature, along with the deaths of his grandfather and uncle and his own tragic fate at the hands of the enemy, earned him the lasting esteem of the Romans.
Yurii PNov 03, 2018
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IMP•CAESAR•DIVI•F•AVGVSTVS•IMP•XX / •PONTIF•MAXIM•TRIBVN•POT•XXXIIII / Ӕ As (10-12 A.D.)11 viewsIMP • CAESAR • DIVI • F • AVGVSTVS • IMP • XX, bare head left / • PONTIF • MAXIM • TRIBVN • POT • XXXIIII, huge letters S•C, no field or mint marks.

Ӕ, 26-27mm, 5.77g, die axis 5h (slightly turned coin alignment), material: supposed to be pure red copper.

IMPerator (originally meant "supreme commander", Augustus started to use it as a title)
CAESAR (Augustus adopted the last name from Julius, this is not a title yet)
DIVI Filius (Son of the divine [Julius], Augustus was thus named, having been adopted by Caesar as his son) AVGVSTVS (following his defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC Senate granted Octavian this new name, meaning "majestic")
IMPerator XX (Vicesimum) (i. e. "invested with the twentieth imperial acclaim", second 'imperator' means his military title, a victorious general, the number refers to important victories when the title was renewed) PONTIFex MAXIMus (the high priest, starting with Augustus the emperor was always the head of state religion)
TRIBVNitia POTestas (Tribunal power, the function of the tribune of the people, originally an important republican official, was "hijacked" by Augustus when he was building the imperial structure of power and subsequently became another emperor's title, renewed every year and thus very useful for dating coins)
XXXIIII (Augustus got his tribunal power for life in 23 BC, during the Second Settlement with the Senate, so the 34th tribunal year of Augustus gives us 11 AD as the year of issue of the coin, ±1 since the coin could have been minted slightly before or after, and there is alos some uncertainty about when exactly the tribunal year number was increased by)
SC = [Ex] Senatus Consulto (Senatus is genitive, Consulto is ablative of Consultum) = by decree of the Senate, i. e. the authority of the Senate approved minting of this coin (necessary to justify issue of copper alloy coins for which the intrinsic value was not obvious)
As or assarius – the lowest-valued Roman coin (in times of Augustus minted of pure red copper).

The size and weight of the coin, large SC and the bare head of the emperor (who actually looks really like a typical official portrait of Augustus) all point towards an early imperial as. Unfortunately due to a very poor condition of the coin all that can be reliably gathered from the legends: IMP… left of the neck, …(DI)VI… top of the head on obverse and …XII… 10-11 o'clock on reverse, perhaps also …PONTI… at 2 o'clock and a few other letters, that get increasingly unreliable. Fortunately to my knowledge this excludes all of the coins except just one as of Augustus: RIC 471, Cohen 226, BMC 275, minted in Rome, with the legends as given above and very common. The closest other coin fitting the general outlook is Ӕ as of Tiberius (RIC 44, Cohen 25, BMC 91), but for it the obverse legend starts with TI and DIVI never gets close to 12 o'clock. And the face of Tiberius typically looks noticeably different.

Still, I will be very grateful if anybody looking at this coin points out any other possibilities for identification.

No biographical info here, since Augustus (reign 27 BC - 14 AD) is too well known.
Yurii PNov 01, 2018
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Coriosolite Bi "boar" stater, region: Armorica (Brittany and Channel Islands), c. 56 BC24 viewsSlightly oval shape, obverse convex, reverse a bit concave. 19-20+mm, 2+mm thick, 5.05g, die axis 6h (coin alignment), material: billon of unknown silver and other metal content.

Obverse: stylized head of a god right (Celtic "Apollo", most probably a Sun or sky god) with three plaits of curly hair forming the triskelion-like spiral pattern, reverse: stylized charioteer driving a chariot right with a boar right under the horse and a curl and leaf device in front of it.

The design is loosely based on golden staters of Philip II of Macedon with laureate head of Apollo right on obverse and a charioteer driving a biga (Mediterranean two-horse chariot) right on reverse.

ID: since the obverse is worn off, it is impossible to determine exactly the variety of this coin. but the reverse features such as no reins, chariot driver's head has no long "nose" and even the weak obverse and strong clear reverse all point to series Y. The pellet eye of the pony, no ears, characteristic shape of the pony's head, "weird" driver and the leaf and curl rather than the quadrilateral banner all point to class I (roman numeral), most probably its middle group I (letter), but earlier group H or later transitional groups J or even K of class III are also possible (only the shape of the eye and nose on the obverse would have allowed to tell definitely). This is a well-developed middle chronological type, minted somewhere west of the river Rance.

Mythological and symbolic connotations of this design are very complex. The spirals (here present in the god's hair and as the device before the horse) were one of the most important Celtic symbols, with its main meaning related to the Sun and life (e. g. the Sun's "growing" from winter to summer solstice and then dwindling back, growing from child to adult, leaves and vines unfolding etc.) The double spiral meant life and death or death and rebirth, the cycle of seasons, that sort of thing. The triple spiral or triskelion was probably of the biggest mystical significance, connected to the godhead, with meaning like past+present+future = eternity or morning + day + evening = time. It definitely had to do with the change of seasons, flow of time, power over life and death. Thus the god's hear all made out of spirals with three main spiral branches. The charioteer also probably represents a deity, probably the same deity representing light and life, hunting the boar representing darkness and death. The boar symbol (if one looks closely, there is a rising or setting sun symbol -- a pellet within a circle over a line -- between the boar's legs) is connected to the darkness because boars are dark and their tusks look like crescent moons. They are also parts of many myths, e. g. Greek darkish stories of the Calydonian Boar hunted by Meleager and his many hero comrades or the Erymanthian boar killed by Heracles as his fourth (by some counts) labor: Celts shared the Greek mythological tradition, but probably imbued it with many of their own mythological connotations. God hunting the boar probably symbolizes the same as the spirals in the obverse: changing of seasons, passing of time, life and rebirth etc.

Coriosolites were a Gallic tribe. In the 1st century BC they were living in the so called "Armorica" (ar mor = by the sea) -- a region of modern Brittany around the river Rance roughly to the south of Jersey. They probably migrated there from Rhineland, running away from the Germanic expansion, since they share some cultural features with the Celtic tribes of the Rhine. This tribe on its own was hardly of much significance compared to the other neighboring Gallic tribes (Unelli, Osismii, Veneti, Redones, Abrincatui etc.), but their coin making is among the best studied of all the Celts because several huge hoards of their coins were discovered in Brittany and Jersey, and studied in detail. When Romans led by Julius Caesar came to conquer Gaul, Coriosolites were actively resisting, first on their own, then as a part of the local tribal union and, finally, contributed to Vercingetorix's war effort. The minting of these coins and hoarding them was probably related to these war activities and subsequent defeat, so since series Y is in the middle of the chronology, it can probably be dated around the middle of the Gallic wars (58 - 50 BC), but since the main event in Armorica, the stand off with Viridovix, happened in 57-56 BC, that's probably the best guess.

In addition to Caesar himself, two other Roman generals who fought Coriosolites should be mentioned: Publius Licinius Crassus (86|82? - 53 BC), a son of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Caesar's co-triumvir, who led the initial assault on Armorica, and Quintus Titurius Sabinus, who defeated the union of three Gallic tribes (Unelli, Curiosolitae, and Lexovii) under the chieftain Viridovix in 56 BC. Ironically to our discussion, when Crassus went back to Rome, his first office there was a monetalis, i. e. a Republican official with authority to issue coins.

A lot more about this type of coins can be learned here:
http://www.writer2001.com/exp0002.htm
Yurii PAug 21, 2018
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CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C (the 2nd) / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE3 follis (317-337 A.D.) 23 viewsCONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C, laureate, cuirassed bust right / GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers facing each other, holding spears and shields, with one standard between them, devices on banners not very clear, but probably dots or "o". Mintmark: Epsilon SIS in exergue.

AE3, 18-19mm, 1.65g, die axis 2 (turned medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

IVN = IVNIOR = Junior, NOB C = Nobilitas Caesar, Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) "The Glory of the Army", officina Epsilon (workshop #5), SIScia mint (now Sisak, Croatia).

Siscia mint combined with two standards and IVN NOB C variety points to only two types, RIC VII Siscia 220 and RIC VII Siscia 236, both of Constantine II, with possible officinas A, delta, gamma and epsilon. So even though the name is not very clear and theoretically the officina letter may be B rather than E, we can be sure that it is Constantine and that officina is E. Type 236 should have dots before and after the
mintmark, and it doesn't seem the case here, so this must be RIC VII Siscia 220, officina epsilon. Minting dates according to some sources: 330-335 AD.

Flavius Claudius Constantinus Augustus, born January/February 316, was the elder son if Constantine the Great and his second wife Fausta. Constantine II was born in Arles (south of modern France) and raised a Christian. On 1 March 317, he was made Caesar. A child general: in 323, at the age of seven, he took part in his father's campaign against the Sarmatians. At age ten, he became commander of Gaul, following the death of Crispus. An inscription dating to 330 records the title of Alamannicus, so it is probable that his generals won a victory over the Alamanni. His military career continued when Constantine I made him field commander during the 332 campaign against the Goths.

Following the death of his father in 337, Constantine II initially became augustus jointly with his brothers Constantius II and Constans, with the Empire divided between them and their cousins, the Caesars Dalmatius and Hannibalianus. This arrangement barely survived Constantine I’s death, as his sons arranged the slaughter of most of the rest of the family by the army. As a result, the three brothers gathered together in Pannonia and there, on 9 September 337, divided the Roman world between themselves. Constantine, proclaimed Augustus by the troops received Gaul, Britannia and Hispania. He was soon involved in the struggle between factions rupturing the unity of the Christian Church. The Western portion of the Empire, under the influence of the Popes in Rome, favored Catholicism (Nicean Orthodoxy) over Arianism, and through their intercession they convinced Constantine to free Athanasius, allowing him to return to Alexandria. This action aggravated Constantius II, who was a committed supporter of Arianism.

Constantine was initially the guardian of his younger brother Constans, whose portion of the empire was Italia, Africa and Illyricum. Constantine soon complained that he had not received the amount of territory that was his due as the eldest son. Annoyed that Constans had received Thrace and Macedonia after the death of Dalmatius, Constantine demanded that Constans hand over the African provinces, to which he agreed in order to maintain a fragile peace. Soon, however, they began quarreling over which parts of the African provinces belonged to Carthage, and thus to Constantine, and which belonged to Italy, and therefore to Constans. Further complications arose when Constans came of age and Constantine, who had grown accustomed to dominating his younger brother, would not relinquish the guardianship. In 340 Constantine marched into Italy at the head of his troops. Constans, at that time in Dacia, detached and sent a select and disciplined body of his Illyrian troops, stating that he would follow them in person with the remainder of his forces. Constantine was engaged in military operations and was killed in an ambush outside Aquileia. Constans then took control of his deceased brother's realm.
Yurii PJul 23, 2018
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CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG (the 1st) / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE3 follis (306-337 A.D.) 23 viewsCONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, (laureate?) and rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right / GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers holding spears and shields, facing each other, two standards between them, dots on banners. Mintmark SMKB in exergue

AE3, 17.5-19mm, 1.50g, die axis 12 (medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

MAX AVG = Maximus Augustus, the Great Emperor, Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) "The Glory of the Army", SMKB = Sacra Moneta of Cyzicus (Κύζικος, now Erdek, Balıkesir Province, Turkey), officina #2

Because of the horrible surface it was very difficult to determine the type of this coin. And then I suddenly realized that the head breaks the obverse legend, and so even though it is mostly undecipherable, this immediately excludes all the ...IVN NOB C types of the three Constantine's sons. And thus we can be sure that it is a ...MAX AVG obverse of the father! By carefully looking at the second part of the legend and counting the letters I have confirmed that it is indeed NVS...AVG. Of course, the larger size and the general outlook of the head also points towards Constantine I.

The mintmark is, luckily, much more readable and with significant certainty one can see SMKB. Which points towards RIC VII Cyzicus 78 type. There is a good WildWinds example of a different officina of the same type: http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/constantine/_cyzicus_RIC_vII_078.4.jpg The sources mention that this coin was minted on 330-335 A.D.

Constantine I the Great (reign 306-337), see more info at
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147487
Yurii PJul 05, 2018
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FL CONSTANTIS BEA C / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE3/4 follis (333-350 A.D.) 17 viewsFL CONSTANTIS BEA C, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right / GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers facing each other, holding spears and shields, with one standard between them, device on banner unclear, but probably O (or "dot"). Mintmark AS(IS) in exergue.

AE3/4, 16.5-17.5mm, 1.24g, die axis 1 (slightly turned medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy.

FL CONSTANTIS BEA C = Flavius Constans: Beatus Caesar (Blessed Caesar), Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) = The Glory of the Army, ASIS = officina #1, Siscia mint (now Sisak, Croatia)

Well, as if we did not have trouble enough with almost identical ConstantINUs #1 and #2 and ConstantIUs #1 and #2, this coin is a proof that Constans' name can also be written as ConstanTIs. Luckily, the legends are very clear, mintmark is a bit less clear, but still I have little doubt that it is ASIS. In fact such a rare obverse legend was only used in Siscia and the first letter looks much more like A than other possible officinas B, delta or epsilon. The only ambiguity that remains -- if there is a star after ASIS, it is really hard to tell, there's certainly enough space and the surface if rough enough to suggest another symbol. If there is no star, it is RIC VII Siscia 255 type, and if there is -- RIC VII Siscia 264. There are enough examples of both types at WildWinds, like this http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/constans/_siscia_RIC_vII_255.jpg and this http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/constans/_siscia_RIC_VII_264.jpg The style is similar enough and they are equally rare, so in my mind it matters little. According to the sources, both types were minted in 346-348 A.D., again well after Constans becoming an August, so it is difficult to say, why his Caesar title was still used.

Constans (caesar 333- , augustus 337-350), see more info at
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147486
Yurii PJul 05, 2018
Theta.jpg
A strange "theta" device?17 viewsA panorama of two microscopic images of the reverse of
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147634

What looks like a "theta" is probably just a dot inside an oval. UPD: found a mention of this variation in one of the catalogs, indeed some of the Caesar Constans coins from Thessalonica have "dot inside o" device.
Yurii PJul 05, 2018
Constans_sm.jpg
Constans13 viewsEnlarged and somewhat enhanced obverse fragment of
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147629
Yurii PJul 04, 2018
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FL CONSTANS NOB CAES / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE3/4 follis (333-350 A.D.) 26 viewsFL CONSTANS NOB CAES, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right / GLORI-A EXER-CITVS, two soldiers holding spears and shields with one standard between them, dot inside o on banner. Mintmark: SMT(SΔ) in exergue.

AE3/4, 16-17mm, 1.16g, die axis 6 (coin alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy.

FL = Flavius, NOB CAES = Nobilitas Caesar, Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) The Glory of the Army, SMTSΔ = Sacra Moneta Thessalonica, officina #4

Although only a part of the obverse legend is readable: FL CONSTANS...AES, reconstructing the rest is easy. And FL CONSTANS NOB CAES is not a very common legend, so that despite the fact that only the first letters of the mintmark are clearly identifiable: SMT..., it produces only one hit in the catalogs: RIC VII Thessalonica 226 with the mintmark SMTSΔ.

WildWinds have a good example of it: http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/constans/_thessalonica_RIC_VII_226.jpg I think the style matches, with the same weird little device on the banner and exactly the same cuirass type. Too bad that the face on my coin is too damaged to see if it is really as strange-looking, but its outline seems to match. The notes indicate that it was minted in 335-341 A.D., which is a bit weird, because after 337 A.D. the usage of the Caesar title for Constans should have been discontinued...

Constans (caesar 333- , augustus 337-350), , see more info at
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147486
Yurii PJul 04, 2018
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CONSTANS PF AVG / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE4 follis (337-350 A.D.)25 viewsCONSTAN-S PF AVG, laurel and rosette-diademed, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right / GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers facing each other, holding spears and shields, with one standard between them, O ("dot"?) on banner. Mintmark: BSIS* in exergue.

AE4, 15.5mm, 1.41g, die axis 6 (coin alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy.

P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor. Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) "The Glory of the Army" BSIS* = officina B (workshop #2), SIScia mint (now Sisak, Croatia), issue mark *

Mintmark BSIS* corresponds to only one type, RIC VIII Siscia 78 with the description matching this coin (except the banner device is described as "dot").
I in SIS missing due to clogged die or just got lost due to damage? Minting years mentioned for this coin are 346-348 A.D.

CONSTANS, * c. 323 † February 350 (aged ~27) in Vicus Helena, southwestern Gaul (Elne, southern France)
‡ 25 December 333 – 337 (as Caesar in Constantinople under his father); 337 – 340 (joint emperor with Constantius II and Constantine II, over Italia and Africa); 340 – 350 (after defeating Constantine II, Western Emperor, together with Constantius II in the East).

More biographical info in http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147486
Yurii PJul 04, 2018
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Constantius II16 viewsEnlarged and corrected for perspective obverse fragment of
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147594
Yurii PJul 03, 2018
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Valens15 viewsEnlarged and corrected for perspective obverse fragment of
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147485
Yurii PJul 03, 2018
Gallienus.jpg
Gallienus Radiate14 viewsEnlarged and corrected for perspective obverse fragment of
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147472
Yurii PJul 03, 2018
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A Fallen Horseman17 viewsEnlarged and corrected for perspective reverse fragment of
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147594
Yurii PJul 03, 2018
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DN CONSTANTIVS PF AVG (the 2nd) / FEL TEMP REPARATIO AE3/4 follis (337-361 A.D.)36 viewsDN CONSTAN-TIVS PF AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right/ FEL TEMP RE-PARATIO, Soldier spearing fallen horseman in Phrygian helmet, who is reaching backwards. Mintmark SMHΔ (or A) in exergue.

AE3/4, 16-16.5+mm, 1.95g, die axis 12 (medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

DN = Dominus Noster = Our Lord, P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor, FELicium TEMPorum REPARATIO (or FELicis TEMPoris REPARATIO) = re-establishment of the happy times, SMH = Sacra Moneta Heraclea, officina #1 (alpha) or #4 (delta). Heraclea is now Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey.

Despite the second part of the obverse legend being almost lost, this can only be Constantius II: a Constans' coin would have had a break after DN CONSTA- and a Constantius Gallus' one wouldn't have had a pearl-diademed bust. Also, the last letters of the legend seem to be VG. Factoring in the Phrygian helmet and the reaching back stance of the horseman, very clear H in the mintmark (Heraclea) and absence of any field marks, we can conclude that this must be a variety of RIC VIII Heraclea 90 type. This type should be 17-19mm in size, which is also consistent with this coin. Some sources remark that the fallen horseman type was introduced by Constans and Constantius only in 348, so this coin can be dated 348-361 A.D.

Constantius II (caesar 324-, augustus 337-361), see more info at http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147501
2 commentsYurii PJul 03, 2018
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FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C (the 2nd) / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE4 follis (324-361 A.D.) 30 viewsFL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right / GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers facing each other, holding spears and shields, with one standard between them, large filled "dot" on banner. Mintmark: dot AQP in exergue.

AE4, 16+mm, 1.53g, die axis 6 (coin alignment), noticeable shift of the reverse die right, material: bronze/copper-based alloy

FL IVL = Flavius Iulius (the first names), NOB C = Nobilitas Caesar (title before becoming an Augustus, i. e. after he ascended as Caesar in 324, but before the death of his father in 337), Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) "The Glory of the Army" AQP = Aquileia mint, primary officina (workshop #1), issue mark "dot".

Mintmark dot AQP points to just one type, RIC VII Aquileia 145, and clears the possible misreading of the end of the obverse legend: it is indeed ...NOB C, not AVG. Strangely though the mint years listed are 337-361, after the ascension as Augustus. A clear example of this type can be seen at WildWinds, and features the same huge filled "dot" as in my coin: http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/constantius_II/_aquileia_RIC_VII_145_P.jpg

There is also an example in this gallery with roughly the same obverse and reverse style:
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-126821

Flavius Julius Constantius Augustus, born 7 August 317, was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361 (caesar to his father in 324-337). The middle and most successful son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death. In 340, Constantius' brothers clashed over the western provinces of the empire. The resulting conflict left Constantine II dead and Constans as ruler of the west until he was overthrown and assassinated in 350 by the usurper Magnentius. Unwilling to accept Magnentius as co-ruler, Constantius defeated him at the battles of Mursa Major and Mons Seleucus. Magnentius committed suicide after the latter battle, leaving Constantius as the sole ruler of the empire. His subsequent military campaigns against Germanic tribes were successful: he defeated the Alamanni in 354 and campaigned across the Danube against the Quadi and Sarmatians in 357. In contrast, the war in the east against the Sassanids continued with mixed results.

He was an Arian and clashed with his brother Constans (who was a devote Nicene Orthodox) over this. Subsequently he changed his position somewhat, trying to find a compromise between the two Christian denominations, and subscribed to a milder version of Arianism later known as "Semi-Arianism". In 351, due to the difficulty of managing the empire alone, Constantius elevated his cousin Constantius Gallus to the subordinate rank of Caesar, but had him executed three years later after receiving scathing reports of his violent and corrupt nature. Shortly thereafter, in 355, Constantius promoted his last surviving cousin, Gallus' younger half-brother, Julian, to the rank of Caesar. However, Julian claimed the rank of Augustus in 360, leading to war between the two. Ultimately, no battle was fought as Constantius became ill and died on 3 November 361, though not before naming Julian (of the apostasy infamy) as his successor.
Yurii PJun 29, 2018
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CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG (the 1st) / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE3/4 follis (306-337 A.D.)19 viewsCONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, (laurel and?) rosette diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right / GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers standing inward facing each other, holding spears, shields and two standards between them, "dot" (clearly filled) on banners. Mintmark: SMNE (?) in exergue.

AE3/4, 16.5-17mm, 2.46g, die axis 12 (medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

MAX AVG = Maximus Augustus, the Great Emperor, Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) "The Glory of the Army", SMNE = Sacra Moneta Nicomedia, "officina epsilon", i. e. workshop#5.

Limiting information to only what is known for sure: the legends with the particular breaks, two standards and four-letter mintmark starting with SM, we conclude that this is definitely Constantine I, and only 3 mints are possible: SMN... Nicomedia (RIC VII Nicomedia 188), SMH... Heraclea (RIC VII Nicomedia 111) and SMK... Cyzicus (RIC VII Cyzicus 76-79). All are minted in 330-335 A.D. If the mintmark is indeed SMN..., two variations are listed: rosette-diademed and laurel- and rosette-diademed (laurels typically designated by longish shapes and rosettes as squares with dots). Since the obverse is worn, it is difficult to judge which one is the case here. One can definitely see the rosettes, but as for laurels... probably, not. Officina may be E or S, but I think E fits better.

Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, aka Constantine the Great, aka Saint Constantine, born 27 Feb c. 272 to Flavius Valerius Constantius (aka Constantius I), a Roman Army officer of Illyrian origins, and a Greek woman of low birth Helena (aka Saint Helena). His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius raised himself to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father's death in 306 AD, and he emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD. He did so many a great deed that there is no point to list them here. Best known for (having some sort of Christ-related mystical experience in 312, just before the decisive Battle of the Milvian Bridge with Maxentius) being the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity and for being a champion of this faith, in particular, he played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire, and called the First Council of Nicaea in 325 that produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed. Died 22 May 337, famously being baptized on his deathbed. Succeeded by his 3 sons: Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans.
Yurii PJun 28, 2018
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CONSTANS PF AVG / GLORIA EXERCITVS AE4 follis (337-350 A.D.)29 viewsCONSTANS - PF AVG, (laurel and?) rosette-diademed, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right / GLORI - A EXER - CITVS, two soldiers facing each other, holding spears and shields, with one standard between them, the device on banner difficult to discern, maybe a little dot or O. Mintmark: SMTSA or SMTSΔ in exergue.

AE4, 16mm, 1.37g, die axis 12 (medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor. Gloria Exercitus (noun + genitive) "The Glory of the Army", SMTSA/Δ= Sacra Moneta Thessalonica, officina A or Δ (i. e. workshop #1 or #4).

CONSTANS - PF AVG legend and Thessalonica mint for a one standard design point at just a single type: RIC VIII Thessalonica 57, with both SMTSA and SMTSΔ mintmarks possible. Minting date listed for this type is late, 346-348 A.D.

Flavius Julius Constans Augustus. Born c. 323. The third and youngest son of Constantine the Great and his second wife Fausta. Caesar since Dec 333 (to his father, who was the only Augustus before his death in 337 -- and together with his brothers Costantine II (eldest) and Constantius II (middle), who were elevated to caesars earlier).

Augustus since Sept 337, also joint with his brothers (Constantius got the East while the other brothers shared the West). At first he was under guardianship of Constantine II, but that relationship was very quarrelsome. In 340 Constantine II was killed in an ambush during military operations against Constans' troops in Italy, and Constans inherited his portion (i.e. the whole West) of the Empire.

As an emperor Constans led a few successful military campaigns and was also known for his activity regarding religions: was tolerant to Judaism, promulgated an edict banning pagan sacrifices, suppressed Donatism in Africa and championed Nicene Orthodoxy against Arianism (which was supported by Constantius, this led to open warfare between the brothers). He was openly homosexual, which ultimately led to his downfall: the army was tired of the rule of Constans' favorites and barbarian bodyguards, of whom he was very fond of. Assassinated by usurper Magnentius, who led the army revolt, in Feb 350. His only remaining brother, Constantius later defeated Magnentius and consolidated the whole empire under himself.
Yurii PJun 28, 2018
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DN VALENS PF AVG / GLORIA ROMANORVM AE3/4 follis (364-378 A.D.) 19 viewsDN VALEN-S PF AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right / GLORIA RO-MANORVM, Emperor walking right, head left, (probably) holding labarum, dragging captive behind him. V(?) in left field, star (or point) over Δ in right field. Mintmark worn off.

AE3/4, 17mm, 1.96g, die axis 12 (medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

DN = Dominus Noster = Our Lord, P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor. GLORIA ROMANORVM = Glory of the Romans. The labarum (Greek: λάβαρον) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol ☧, a christogram formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ). It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.

GLORIA ROMANORVM with the captive was a very popular reverse design for Valens' coins, minted at many mints all over the empire. But star or dot over Δ in right field is characteristic only of one mint, Thessalonica. Examples include various types of RIC IX Thessalonica 26b (star over Δ) and 31 (dot over Δ). These types are dated 367-375 or 375-378 A.D., with some letter in the left field usually indicating later, 375-378 issue. Mintmark for these types is always TES, sometimes with dot before or after.

Flavius Iulius Valens. Born in 328 in Cibalae (in present-day Croatia) into an Illyrian family. His older brother Valentinian was later to become Valenitinian I the Great, another emperor.

His father Gratian (aka the Elder or Gratianus Funarius or Gratianus Major), a Roman soldier of common birth, rose through the ranks to become "protector domesticus" during the reign of Constantine the Great [A member of an elite guard unit/staff member with various important duties . After serving under the emperor for a certain duration, the Domestici would be able to become leaders themselves and potentially command their own regiment of legionnaires in the military], and later tribune and comes. He was forced to retire due to suspicion of embezzlement, but later recalled back to active duty to serve Constans. Again fell into disrespect and lost all estates when Constantius came to deal with Magnentius, because he was suspected to support him, but never lost influence with the army, which helped to promote careers of his sons.

Brothers grew up in various estates in Africa and Britain. While Valentinian had been distinguished in an active military career, Valens, though already 35 years old, had not participated in either the civil or military affairs of the empire previous to his selection as Augustus by his brother. In February 364, reigning Emperor Jovian, while hastening to Constantinople to secure his claim to the throne, died in his sleep during a stop at Dadastana, 100 miles east of Ankara. Valentinian, a tribunus scutariorum, who owed his advancement to the deceased, was elected by the legions to succeed Jovian. He was proclaimed Augustus on 26 February, 364. It was the general opinion that Valentinian needed help to handle the cumbersome administration, civil and military, of the large and unwieldy empire, and, on 28 March of the same year, at the express demand of the soldiers for a second Augustus, he selected his brother Valens as co-emperor in the palace of Hebdomon. Both emperors were briefly ill, delaying them in Constantinople, but as soon as they recovered, the two Augusti travelled together through Adrianople and Naissus to Mediana, where they divided their territories. Valentinian then went on to the West, where the Alemanic wars required his immediate attention.

Valens obtained the eastern half of the Empire Greece, Egypt, Syria and Anatolia as far east as Persia. He was back in his capital of Constantinople by December 364. Valens was utterly undistinguished and possessed no military ability: he betrayed his consciousness of inferiority by his nervous suspicion of plots and savage punishment of alleged traitors, but he was also a conscientious administrator, careful of the interests of the humble. He was an earnest Christian. Like the brothers Constantius II and Constans, Valens and Valentinian I held divergent theological views. Valens was an Arian and Valentinian I upheld the Nicene Creed. Valens was baptized by the Arian bishop of Constantinople before he set out on his first war against the Goths. Not long after Valens died the cause of Arianism in the Roman East was to come to an end. His death was considered a sign from God. His successor Theodosius I would favor the Nicene Creed, and suppress the Arian heresy. Valens, sometimes known as the Last True Roman (his co-emperor brother was dead in 375), was defeated and killed in the Battle of Adrianople against a confederated Gothic army on 9 August 378, which marked the beginning of the collapse of the decaying Western Roman Empire.
Yurii PJun 28, 2018
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GALLIENVS AVG / LAETITIA AVG AE/Bi antoninianus (260-268 A.D.)21 viewsGALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right, one ribbon behind, one forward across shoulder / LAETITIA AVG, Laetitia standing left, holding wreath in right hand and anchor or rudder in left. No discernible field or mint marks.

AE3/4, 16mm, 1.15g, die axis 6 (coin alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

AVG = Augustus, LAETITIA AVG = "the Joy of the Emperor", Laetitia was the goddess of joy, wreath = celebration, anchor = stability or rudder = guiding fortune.

Looking at WildWinds examples, it is similar to the different RIC 489 variations of the Mediolanum mint. The Laetitia reverse was also minted at other mints, but either during the joint reign (with AVGG, which might still be the case here ) or, at Rome, as a much larger and heavier coin (20-21mm, 3-5g). So this one is likely to be from Milan.

Gallienus (reign 253-, alone 260-268), see more info at http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-147472
Yurii PJun 27, 2018
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GALLIENVS AVG / FIDES MILIT AE/Bi. antoninianus (260-268 A.D.)23 viewsGALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right, one ribbon behind, one forward across shoulder/ FIDES MILIT, Fides Militum standing left, holding vexillum and long scepter, MP or MD in exergue.

AE3, 17mm, 1.27g, die axis 6 (coin alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

AVG = Augustus. Fides was the Roman goddess of trustworthiness and good faith. Fides Militum = "Military confidence" or "Army's loyalty". Sceptres, often two to three foot ivory rods topped with a globe or an eagle, were introduced by Augustus as a symbol of Rome's power. They would be carried by emperors while riding in chariots to celebrate military victories and thus a scepter is a symbol of emperor's leadership and victory. Vexillum -- ensign of a section of legion. MD may mean Mediolanum mint, MP may mean Mediolanum pecunia (coin) or Mediolanum mint, prima officina (workshop #1). Either way, it was probably minted at Mediolanum.

Very similar to a coin (with MP mintmark), listed at WildWinds with references to RIC V-1, Milan 481K; Goebl 1370a; Sear 10214. http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/gallienus/RIC_0481.jpg

Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus. The son of emperor Valerian and his wife Mariniana. Born c. 218. Co-emperor with his father since Oct 253. His sons Valerian II and Saloninus were named his co-emperors and heirs, but both died early (Valerian II in 258 and Saloninus in 260). His father was infamously captured after the Battle of Edessa by Sassanian Persian king Shapur I, also in 260, leaving Gallienus a sole ruler. His whole career was spent dealing with innumerable invasions and revolts, which speaks to his credit, because despite this he managed to stay in power for so long. Famous for his military reforms and the first decree of tolerance of Christianity. Despite this some martyrologies mention his as a persecutor, probably mistaking him for his father's actions during their joint reign. Infamous for losing Gaul and Palmyra. Died in Sept 268 in Mediolanum as a result of yet another military coup, Fides Militum finally failed him. Succeeded by one of his generals Claudius Gothicus, later known as Claudius II. There were some rumors that Claudius was the one who murdered Gallienus, but this was never proved.
Yurii PJun 27, 2018
 
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