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XXI

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Magnentius, 18 January 350 - 10 August 353 A.D.

Flavius Magnus Magnentius may have once been a slave owned by Constantine the Great. He was a general of great skill, becoming one of the empires foremost military leaders during the reign Constans. However, in 350 A.D. he rebelled and took control of the Western provinces. Not content with official recognition by Constantius II, he invaded the latter's territory and after some initial success, met with a great defeat at Mursa. After a retreat into Gaul, he was abandoned by his soldiers and committed suicide.


Obverse Legends

DNMAGNENTIVSAVG
DNMAGNENTIVSPFAVG
FLMAGNENTIVSPFAVG
IMPCAEMAGNENTIVSAVG
MAGNENTIVSAVG


Dictionary of Roman Coins




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MAGNENTIVS (FL. Magnus), born in Gaul, of obscure British or German parents, about A.D. 303 was brought up by Constans, with whom he was so great a favorite, on account of his skill in military affairs, that in a tumult when the soldiers were on te point of putting him as captain of the guard to death, his imperial master threw his paludamentum as a protection over him, and thus saved his life.  This kindness Magnentius most ungratefully requited with treachery, and the basest machinations, through which the Emperor fell a victim, and this usurper obtained the empire, after having assumed the purple at Autun (Augustodunum), A.D. 350.  He was a man of studious habits, powerful in conversation, but hard-hearted and cruel.  He named as Caesar his brother Decentius whom he sent with the army to defend Gaul beyond the Alps; and he himself marched against Constantius, brother of Constans, whose terms of peace he had rashly rejected, and by whom he was defeated in two engagements, one in Italy, the other in Gaul.  Fleeing to Lyons, and unable to retrieve his affairs, he then slew himself A.D. 353, at 50 years of age. 

The second and third brass of Magnentius are very common; his gold are rare; his silver rarer. 


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