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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Constantinian Era ▸ HelenaView Options:  |  |  | 

Helena, Augusta 8 November 324 - 328 to 330 A.D.

Helena was the first wife of Constantius I and mother of Constantine I. Although abandoned by her husband, Helena was brought to the Imperial court by her son and was given many titles. She exercised immense influence over the government of the empire and was instrumental in the continued growth of Christianity. Famed for her piety, Helena is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches. Her feast day as a saint of the Orthodox Christian Church is celebrated with her son on May 21, the "Feast of the Holy Great Sovereigns Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles." Her feast day in the Roman Catholic Church falls on August 18. Her feast day in the Coptic Orthodox Church is on 9 Pashons. Eusebius records the details of her pilgrimage to Palestine and other eastern provinces (though not her discovery of the True Cross). She is the patron saint of new discoveries.


Lot of 3 St. Helena, Augusta, 8 November 324 - c. 330 A.D., Mother of Constantine the Great

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Helena, first wife of Constantius I and mother of Constantine I, was abandoned by her husband but brought to the court by her son and given many titles. She had immense political influence and was instrumental in the growth of Christianity. She is a saint in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
LT87675. Bronze Lot, 3 bronze coins of St. Helena, 15.8 to 19.7 mm, no flips or tags, the lot is the actual coins in the photograph; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


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In the 12th century, Henry of Huntingdon included a passage in his Historia Anglorum that Constantine's mother Helena was a Briton, the daughter of King Cole of Colchester. Geoffrey of Monmouth expanded this story in his highly fictionalized Historia Regum Britanniae, an account of the supposed Kings of Britain from their Trojan origins to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. According to Geoffrey, Cole was King of the Britons when Constantius, here a senator, came to Britain. Afraid of the Romans, Cole submitted to Roman law so long as he retained his kingship. However, he died only a month later, and Constantius took the throne himself, marrying Cole's daughter Helena. They had their son Constantine, who succeeded his father as King of Britain before becoming Roman Emperor. Historically, this series of events is extremely improbable. Constantius had already left Helena by the time he left for Britain. Additionally, no earlier source mentions that Helena was born in Britain, let alone that she was a princess.
RL29307. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 481, Choice EF, sharp strike, nice patina, full circles centering, small edge defect, weight 2.346 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 326 A.D.; obverse FL HELENA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVBLICE (security of the Republic), Securitas standing half left, branch pointed down in right, raising pallium with left, STR and dot over crescent in exergue; SOLD


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Jerusalem was still being rebuilt following the destruction caused by Emperor Hadrian. He had built a temple over the site of Jesus's tomb near Calvary, and renamed the city Aelia Capitolina. Accounts differ concerning whether the Temple was dedicated to Venus or Jupiter According to tradition, Helena ordered the temple torn down and, according to the legend that arose at the end of the 4th century, chose a site to begin excavating, which led to the recovery of three different crosses. The legend is recounted in Ambrose, On the Death of Theodosius (died 395) and at length in Rufinus' chapters appended to his translation into Latin of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, the main body of which does not mention the event. Then, Rufinus relates, the empress refused to be swayed by anything short of solid proof and performed a test. Possibly through Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem, she had a woman who was near death brought from the city. When the woman touched the first and second crosses, her condition did not change, but when she touched the third and final cross she suddenly recovered, and Helena declared the cross with which the woman had been touched to be the True Cross. On the site of discovery, Constantine ordered the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; churches were also built on other sites detected by Helena. Sozomen and Theodoret claim that Helena also found the nails of the crucifixion. To use their miraculous power to aid her son, Helena allegedly had one placed in Constantine's helmet, and another in the bridle of his horse.
RL32703. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Lyons 234 (R2), Bastien 192, LRBC I 177, SRCV 16595, Cohen VII 12, Hunter V -, aUNC, great style, sharp, bold, patina mostly very glossy undoubtedly formed over mint luster, as struck by an absolutely fresh die., weight 3.181 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 324 - 325 A.D.; obverse FL HELENA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVBLICE (security of the Republic), Securitas standing half left, branch pointed down in right, raising pallium with left, PLG in exergue; ex Freeman and Sear; rare; SOLD







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

FLHELENAAVGVSTA
FLIVLHELENAEAVG
FLAVIAHELENAAVGVSTA
HELENANF


REFERENCES

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 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).
Milchev, S. The Coins of Constantine the Great. (Sophia, 2007).
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: The Collapse of Paganism and the Triumph of Christianity, Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 2011).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. V: The Christian Empire: The Later Constantinian Dynasty and the Houses of Valentinian and Theodosius and Their Successors, Constantine II to Zeno, AD 337 - 491. (London, 2014).
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 Saturday, December 15, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Helena