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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Constantinian Era ▸ Constantine the GreatView Options:  |  |  |   

Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, was the son of Helena and the First Tetrarchic ruler Constantius I. Constantine is most famous for his conversion to Christianity after the battle of the Milvian Bridge where he defeated emperor Maxentius. Before the battle, he saw the words "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) emblazoned on the sun around the Chi Rho, the symbol of Christianity. After placing this Christogram on the shields of his army, he defeated his opponent and thus ruled the empire through divine providence. He also shifted the capital of the empire to Constantinople, establishing the foundation for an Empire that would last another 1000 years. He died in 337 and his sons divided the Roman territories.


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae Laetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."
RL77186. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 209 (R1), SRCV IV 16297, Cohen VII 640, Hunter V -, Choice EF, much silvering, some luster, areas of mild porosity, weight 3.096 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 318 - 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (joyous eternal victories of the prince), two Victories holding shield inscribed VOT / P R over altar, STR in exergue; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates, Victoriae Laetae Principium Perpertua, which translates, "Joyous victory to the eternal Prince." VOT P R on the shield abbreviates, Vota Populi Romani, which translates, "Vows (prayers) of the Roman people."
RL79962. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Siscia 61 (R1), Cohen VII 637, SRCV IV 16303, Hunter V -, VF, fantastic armed bust, well centered, corrosion, reverse rough, weight 2.408 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, helmet with high crest and ornamented with stars, spear in right hand across right shoulder, shield on left shoulder ornamented with a horseman riding right with his cloak flying behind; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (joyous eternal victories of the prince), two Victories holding between them a shield inscribed VOT P R set on altar, BSIS• in exergue; rare with this shield; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Thracian or Germanic Tribes, Pseudo-Imperial Coinage, Mid 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

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This type was minted by and used as currency by tribes outside the Roman Empire in Thrace. It copied a Roman votive type issued under Constantine the Great. The inscriptions are made up of illiterate imitations of letters.
CE76987. Bronze AE 18, Imitative of Crispus types, for prototypes see RIC VII p. 379 ff. (official Roman, Ticinum mint, c. 320 - 325 A.D.), Choice VF, nice green patina, weight 2.047 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, tribal mint, mid 4th - early 5th century A.D.; obverse laureate bust left, illiterate blundered imitation of a legend; reverse blundered VOT X within wreath, illiterate blundered limitation of a legend around, ST in exergue; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


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This coin refers Constantine's victory in the Sarmatian war in 322 A.D. According to Zosimus (lib. 2), Constantine routed the Sarmatae and drove them back beyond the Danube where they rallied to renew the fight. He defeated them and again put them to flight, taking a great number of prisoners. Their king, Rausimodus, was left among the slain.
RL84287. Billon centenionalis, Hunter V 65 (also 2nd officina), RIC VII Trier 435, Cohen VII 487, SRCV IV 16284, Choice EF, attractive surfaces, nice portrait, some flatness of strike on reverse, small edge split, weight 3.058 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 323 - 324 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse SARMATIA DEVICTA (Samartia vanquished), Victory advancing right, treading on captive with left foot, trophy in right hand, palm frond in left hand, STR crescent in exergue; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


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On May 21 the Orthodox Christian Church celebrates the "Feast of the Holy Great Sovereigns Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles."
RT77400. Billon follis, RIC VII Rome 27, SRCV IV 16097, Cohen VII -, Choice VF, silvering, clashed dies, weight 3.046 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Rome mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, R over X on left, F on right, P R in exergue; $105.00 (€93.45)
 


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This variety appears to be much rarer than RIC VIII's R2 rating indicates. RIC references LRBC and an example from the Chorleywood Hoard found in Hertfordshire, England in 1977. We found only one other example online - in the Forum Members' Gallery.
RL70557. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Arles 41 (R2); Depeyrot EMA p. 72, 57/1; LRBC I 429; SRCV V ; Voetter -; Milchev Constantine -, aF, scratches, weight 1.269 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 180o, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, posthumous, early 340 A.D.; obverse DIVO CONSTANTINO P, veiled and draped bust right; reverse AETERNA PIETAS, Constantine standing right, in military dress, inverted spear behind in left, globe in right hand, X (control symbol) left, [PCON or SCON] in exergue (off flan); very rare; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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The Latin word comiti, during imperial times, indicated a minister of the emperor. Even the two consuls where called "comites." The reverse legend therefore reads: "to the unconquered Sun, minister [of Constantine]."
RL71417. Billon follis, RIC VII Rome 27, SRCV IV 16097, Cohen VII -, Choice VF, perfect centering, Sol's head struck a bit flat, weight 3.181 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, extending globe in left hand, R over X left, F right, R Q in ANT in exergue; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


City of Rome Commemorative, 335 - 336 A.D.

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On 11 May 330, Constantine I refounded Byzantium, renamed it Constantinopolis after himself, and moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to his new city. The new capital was Christian, old gods and traditions were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot. The capital would often be compared to the 'old' Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople." Special commemorative coins were issued with types for both Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
RL76421. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Rome 370 (R2), LRBC I 556, SRCV IV 16509, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V -, VF, tight, slightly ragged flan, weight 1.840 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 335 - 336 A.D.; obverse VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma left wearing imperial mantle; reverse she-wolf standing left, head turned back right, suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus, two stars above, R * Q in exergue; first example of this rare type handled by Forum; rare; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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In 315 A.D., the arch of Constantine was erected in Rome.
RL77100. Billon follis, RIC VII Lyons 34, Cohen VII 530, SRCV IV 16069, Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, weight 2.969 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 314 - 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, TF left, star right, PLG in exergue; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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Constantine is best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor. He reversed the persecutions of his predecessor, Diocletian, and issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious toleration throughout the empire. He is listed as a saint by the Orthodox Church. Although he is not a Catholic saint, he is revered under the title "The Great" for his contributions to Christianity.
RL77104. Billon follis, RIC VI Lugdunum 310, Bastien XI 526, SRCV IV 16065, Cohen VII 536, Hunter V -, Choice EF, excellent centering, good strike, sharp portrait, weight 4.408 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 309 - 310 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, celestial globe in extended left, F left, T right, PLC in exergue; $100.00 (€89.00)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
CONSTANTINVSAG
CONSTANTINVSAVG
CONSTANTINVSFILAVGG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSNC
CONSTANTINVSNOBC
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
CONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSFILAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
IMPCONSTANTINVSAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCONSTNTINVSMAXAVG


REFERENCES

Bastien, P. Le Monnayage de l'Atelier de Lyon, De la Réforme Monétaire de Dioclétien à la fermeture temporaire de l'Atelier en 316 (294 - 316). Numismatique Romaine XI. (Wetteren, 1980).
Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier en 318 à la mort de Constantin (318 - 337). Numismatique Romaine XIII. (Wetteren, 1982).
Bruun, P. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VII, Constantine and Licinius A.D. 313 - 337. (London, 1966).
Carson, R., P. Hill & J. Kent. Late Roman Bronze Coinage. (London, 1960).
Carson, R., H. Sutherland & J. Kent. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VIII, The Family of Constantine I, A.D. 337 - 364. (London, 1981).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 7: Carausius to Constantine & sons. (Paris, 1888).
Depeyrot, G. Les émissions monétaires d'Arles (4th -5th Siècles). Moneta 6. (Wetteren, 1996).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Dioclétien a Constantin I (284 - 337). (Wetteren, 1995).
Failmezger, V. Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity, 294 - 364 A.D. (Washington D.C., 2002).
King, C. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Milchev, S. The Coins of Constantine the Great. (Sophia, 2007).
Paolucci, R. & A. Zub. La monetazione di Aquileia Romana. (Padova, 2000).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. V. Diocletian (Reform) to Zeno. (Oxford, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine...Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 2011).
Speck, R. & S. Huston. Constantine's Dafne Coinage at Constantinople. (San Francisco, 1992).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
Voetter, O. Die Münzen der romischen Kaiser, Kaiserinnen und Caesaren von Diocletianus bis Romulus: Katalog der Sammlung Paul Gerin. (Vienna, 1921).

Catalog current as of Friday, August 18, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Constantine the Great