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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Military ▸ LegionaryView Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of the Roman Legions

Legionarii is the name give to the foot soldiers of the Roman legions. The horsemen were distinguished by the appellation of Equites. The term of sixteen years was the period fixed for the service of the Legionarii. Before the reign of Septimius Severus they were not permitted to marry, or at least to have their wives with them in the camp. The military discipline of these troops was very severe. They led a life of great hardship, and made long marches, laden with heavy burdens. During peace they were employed in working on the fortifications of towns and of camps, as well as in repairing the high roads.


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XI

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This may have been a legion raised by Antony and disbanded by Augustus. The XI Claudia, an old legion of Caesar's, fought for Octavian (and won the title Actiaca at the battle of Actium).
SL79267. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/25, Sydenham 1229, BMCRR II East 203, RSC I 39, NGC F, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, banker's marks (2400602-008), toned, weight 3.48 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; NGC certified (slabbed); $400.00 (340.00)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG V

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This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
RS79795. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, SRCV I 1479, VF, obverse slightly off-center, banker's mark on obverse, weight 3.714 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $280.00 (238.00)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XII

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This old Caesarean legion was known at different times as Victrix, Antiquae, Paterna and finally XII Fulminata ('the thunderers'). Its veterans settled (among other places) in Patras in Greece. After fighting without great distinction in the First Jewish Revolt, the legion was transferred to Melitene in Cappadocia, where it remained for several hundred years.
RR85202. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/26, Sydenham 1230, BMCRR II East 204, RSC I 41, Sear CRI 365, F, toned, off center, scratches, weight 3.216 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 225o, Patrae(?) mint, autumn 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XII, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; $220.00 (187.00)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

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The Battle of Antioch. After Macrinus foolishly cut legionary pay, Legio III Gallica hailed Elagabalus as emperor on 16 May 218. Macrinus sent cavalry but they too joined Elagabalus. Macrinus finally abandoned his pay cut and paid a bonus, but it was too late. Legion II Parthica defected. General Gannys, the commander of Elagabalus' forces, decisively defeated Macrinus was just outside Antioch on 8 June 218. Macrinus shaved off his hair and beard and fled, disguised as a member of the military police. He was recognized by a centurion at Chalcedon on the Bosporus, taken back to Antioch and executed.
RS84623. Silver denarius, RIC IV 187, BMCRE V 275, RSC III 15, Hunter III 111, SRCV II 7505, VF, lustrous fields, excellent portrait, toned, tight flan, weight 2.093 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 16 May 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse CONCORDIA MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), two military standards between two legionary eagles; ex Numismatik Naumman (Vienna), auction 47, part of lot 873; scarce; $165.00 (140.25)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

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In July 221, Elagabalus was forced to divorce his new bride, the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa. He then married Annia Faustina, his third wife. After five months he returned to Severa claiming the divorce was invalid. Meanwhile, according to the historian Cassius Dio, Elagabalus had a stable homosexual relationship with his chariot driver, the slave Hierocles.
RS74521. Silver denarius, RIC IV 78, BMCRE V 201, RSC III 44, SRCV III 7514, VF, some marks, light corrosion, weight 3.019 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse FIDES MILIT (the loyalty of the soldiers), aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, shield at base of each standard; $120.00 (102.00)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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This coin is dedicated to the goddess Fides for her good quality of preserving the public peace by keeping the army true to its allegiance.
RB90829. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 171a, Cohen V 51, gVF, Tiber patina, superb portrait, grainy, edge cracks, tight flan, edge clip at 12:00 (pre-strike to adjust flan weight?), weight 13.589 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FIDES EXERCITVS (the loyalty of the army), four legionary standards, second from left signum militaria with hand on top, third an aquila, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $115.00 (97.75)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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This coin was dedicated to the fidelity of the Pretorian Guard or perhaps to "the leaders." In either case, in the end, Gallienus lost the fidelity of his guard and officers. He was ambushed and murdered by his own men. The future emperors Claudius Gothicus and Aurelian were likely both involved in the conspiracy leading to his assassination.
RA90710. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 518d, RIC V S568 (Siscia), RSC IV 216 (Siscia), SRCV III 10211, Hunter IV p. lx, Normanby -, VF/F, nice portrait, well centered, ragged tight flan cutting off the tops of legend letters, flan cracks, some corrosion, weight 2.035 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 262 - 263 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse FIDEI PRAET, legionary aquila (eagle) between two legionary standards, the standards on the left topped with a wreath, the standards on the right topped with an open hand; RIC lists this type as common but market evidence clearly indicates it is rare; rare; $110.00 (93.50)


Philippi, Macedonia, 41 - 68 A.D.

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This coin has traditionally been attributed to Augustus, but due to its copper composition, RPC attributes it as likely from Claudius to Nero; Philippi probably did not issue copper coins during the reign of Augustus.
RP83476. Bronze AE 23, RPC I 1651, Varbanov III 3229, SGICV 32, SNG Cop 305, AMNG III 14, BMC Macedonia 23, VF, centered on a tight flan, grainy green patina, small edge cracks, weight 4.619 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Philippi mint, 41 - 68 A.D.; obverse VIC - AVG, Victory standing left on base, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; reverse COHOR PRAE PHIL, three standards; $105.00 (89.25)


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

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Nicaea remained an important town throughout the imperial period. Although only 70 km (43 miles) from Constantinople, Nicaea did not lose its importance when Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Empire. The city suffered from earthquakes in 358, 362 and 368; after the last of which, it was restored by Valens. During the Middle Ages, it was a long time bulwark of the Byzantine emperors against the Turks.
RP84693. Bronze AE 20, Rec Gen II.3 p. 489, 715; Mionnet supp. V 870; cf. BMC Pontus p. 17, 119 (eagles vice capricorns); SNGvA 653 (1 eagle, 2 standards), VF, nice green patina, well centered, weight 20.4 g, maximum diameter 3.538 mm, die axis 180o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, 238 - 244 A.D.; obverse M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AVΓ, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse N-I-K-A-I/EΩN, four standards, two center standards topped with capricorns, two outer standards topped with wreaths; $80.00 (68.00)


Severina, Augusta Spring 274 - November 275 A.D.

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Severina was the wife of Aurelian. She was possibly the only Roman empress ever to rule in her own right, which she did during the interregnum after her husband's murder.
RS73655. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 1813 (45 spec.), BnF XII 219 - 220, Venra 1356 - 1374, Gloucester 178, Maravielle 92, RIC V 4, SRCV III 11705, Cohen VI 7, VF, much silvering, broad flan, minor double strike on both sides, weight 3.809 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Rome mint, issue 11, early - Sep 275; obverse SEVERINA AVG, diademed and draped bust right on crescent; reverse CONCORDIAE MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Fides Militum standing facing, head left, flanked by a standard in each hand, A in right field, XXIR in exergue; ex Harlan J. Berk; $75.00 (63.75)




  



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