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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Constantinian Era| ▸ |Constantine the Great||View 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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David Sear notes, "It is tempting to regard the cross in the reverse field as an early instance of Christian symbolism on the Constantinian Coinage."
RL89937. Billon follis, RIC VII Ticinum 45, SRCV IV 16088, Cohen VII 536, Hunter V -, Choice VF, excellent centering, turquoise-green patina, weight 2.994 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 316 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F 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, cross left, star right, PT in exergue; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


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Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother's city of Helenopolis. There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. He attempted to return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, "performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom." It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on 22 May 337.
RL88038. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Antioch 39; LRBC I 1374; SRCV V 17488; Voetter 34; Cohen VII 760; Hunter V p. 283, 4 ff. var. (officina), EF, attractive highlighting desert patina, light marks, tight flan, weight 1.705 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, 9th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, posthumous, Sep 337 - 340 A.D.; obverse DV CONSTANTINVS PT AVGG, veiled bust right; reverse Constantine in quadriga right, veiled, the hand of God reaches down to take him to heaven, star above, SMANΘ in exergue; $115.00 (€101.20)
 


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Manus Dei, the hand of God, reaches down to take Constantine up to heaven. Constantine is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
RL88042. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Antioch 39; LRBC I 1374; SRCV V 17488; Voetter 34; Cohen VII 760; Hunter V p. 283, 4 ff. var. (officina), EF, highlighting desert patina, die break reverse right side, weight 1.654 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 180o, 7th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, posthumous, 337 - Apr 340 A.D.; obverse DV CONSTANTINVS PT AVGG, veiled bust right; reverse Constantine in quadriga right, veiled, the hand of God reaches down to take him to heaven, SMANZ in exergue; $115.00 (€101.20)
 


Click for a larger photo
Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother's city of Helenopolis. There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. He attempted to return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, "performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom." It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on 22 May 337.
RL87872. Billon reduced centenionalis, Hunter V p. 284, 12 (also 1st officina); RIC VIII Alexandria p. 541, 32; LRBC I 1473; SRCV V 17473; Cohen VII 716, EF, excellent centering, brown tone with some silvering, flow lines, reverse center a little weak, tiny edge cracks, weight 1.706 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Alexandria mint, posthumous, late 347 - 348 A.D.; obverse DV CONSTANTINVS PT AVGG, veiled bust right; reverse VN - MR (venerabilis memoria - revered memory), Constantine standing slightly right, head right, veiled and togate, raising right hand, SMALA in exergue; ex Beast Coins, ex Malter Galleries; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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In 320, Crispus, eldest son of Constantine I, led a victorious campaign against the Franks, assuring twenty years of peace along the Rhine frontier. He established his residence in Augusta Treverorum (modern Trier), capital of Germania.
RL20963. Billon centenionalis, Paolucci-Zub 255a, RIC VII Aquileia 48, SRCV IV 16323, Cohen VII 690, Choice gVF, well centered, nice portrait, some silvering, weight 3.122 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 330o, 1st officina, Aquileia mint, 320 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS EXERCIT (courage of the army), vexillum inscribed VOT / XX, two captives seated at base facing outward, the one on the left with hands bound behind, the one on the right looking back left, S left, F right, AQP in exergue; from the Scott Collection, ex Beast Coins (2007); $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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Although Ares was viewed by the Greeks primarily as destructive and destabilizing, worthy of contempt and revulsion, for the Romans, Mars was a father (pater) of the Roman people. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RL87890. Billon follis, RIC VII 80 (R2), SRCV IV 15984, Cohen VII 345, Hunter V 49 var. (2nd officina), Choice VF, dark patina, well centered and struck, die wear, weight 3.222 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, autumn 307 - end of 308 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse MARTI CONSERVATORI (Mars the Protector), Mars standing right, wearing military garb, inverted spear in right hand, left hand on grounded shield, A left, S right, PTR in exergue; ex Beast Coins, ex Harlan Berk (CICF April 2013); $105.00 (€92.40)
 


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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."
RL89615. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Lyons 65 (R1, altar d), SRCV IV 16291, Cohen VII 631, Hunter V 87, Choice gVF, well centered on a broad flan, crude style, edge cracks, weight 2.975 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyons, France) mint, 319 - 320 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, high crested (bowl shaped) helmet and cuirassed, bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAET PRINC PERP (Joyous victory to the eternal Prince), two Victories standing facing each other, together holding shield with inscribed VOT / P R in two lines, shield resting on altar with X center, two bound captives seated back to back in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection, ex Noble Roman Coins (2004); rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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In 319, Constantine prohibited the separation of the families of slaves during a change in ownership.
RL89625. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 221 (R2), SRCV IV 16297, Cohen VII 640, Hunter V -, EF, choice obverse with nice portrait, light and dark brown patina, reverse a little off center, reverse die crack, tiny encrustations, weight 2.415 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (Joyous victory to the eternal Prince), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) over altar, star ornament on the front of altar, •STR in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection, ex CNG e-auction 134 (1 Mar 2006), lot 452 (part of); rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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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."
RL89659. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Siscia 54 (R2, altar type y), Cohen VII 636, SRCV IV 16302, Hunter V -, Choice EF, excellent centering, bold strike, near full silvering, weight 2.933 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 318 - 319 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP (Joyous victory to the eternal Prince), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) on altar, altar ornamented with a small cross at the center of a larger X, ΓSIS in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection, ex Mediterranean Coins (Jan 2004); $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Click for a larger photo
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." For this issue, the altar is always marked I for the first (A) and second (B) officinae, and S for the third (G), fourth (?) and fifth (E) officinae. The meaning of the letters on the altar is unknown.
RL89679. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Siscia 84 (R4), SRCV IV 16288, Cohen VII 570, Hunter V 251 var. (1st officina, I on altar), gVF, full legends, light deposits, weight 3.482 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 319 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTIN-VS AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, crested helmet ornamented with stars, spear in right hand over right shoulder, shield on left arm; reverse VICT LAETAE PRINC PERP (joyous victory to the eternal Prince), two Victories standing confronted, together holding shield inscribed VOT / P R (vows of the Roman people) over altar inscribed with S, •ΓSIS• in exergue; ex Beast Coins VLPP Collection, ex Nemesis Coins (July 2004); rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 




  



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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

AVGVSTVS
COMISCONSTANTINIAVG
CONSTANTINVSAG
CONSTANTINVSAVG
CONSTANTINVSCAESAR
CONSTANTINVSFILAVGG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSMAXIMAVG
CONSTANTINVSNOBC
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
CONSTANTINVSNOBCAESAR
CONSTANTINVSNOBILC
CONSTANTINVSNOBILIC
CONSTANTINVSPAG
CONSTANTINVSPAVG
CONSTANTINVSPAVGCOSIIII
CONSTANTINVSPFAVG
CONSTANTINVSPFINAVG
DDNNCONSTANTINVSETLICINIVSAVGG
DIVOCONSTANTINOAVG
DIVOCONSTANTINOP
DIVCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DIVVSCONSTANTINVSAVGPATERAVGG
DNCONSTANTINVSAVG
DNCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
DNCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSFILAVG
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAES
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBCAESAR
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBILC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSNOBILIC
FLVALCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
FLVALERCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
FLVALERIVSCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFINVAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINOPFINVAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCFLVALCONSTANTINVSPFINVAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSAG
IMPCONSTANTINVSAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSINAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSMAXPFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIINAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIVSFAVG
IMPCONSTANTINVSPIVSFELIXAVG
INVICTVSCONSTANTINVSMAXAVG


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 Wednesday, November 20, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Constantine the Great