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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Constantinian Era| ▸ |Magnentius||View Options:  |  |  |   

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

Magnentius, commander of Constans' imperial guard, rebelled in 350 A.D. He quickly attracted the loyalty of Britannia, Gaul, and Hispania, in part because he was more tolerant towards Pagans. Control of Italia and Africa was secured through election of his men to important offices. He made his brother Decentius caesar. Constantius II, thousands of miles away fighting the Parthians in Syria, signed a hasty peace treaty ceding vast sections of territory, and marched his armies west. Magnentius advanced his armies to meet those of Constantius in the Battle of Mursa Major in 351. Magnentius led his troops into battle, while Constantius spent the day praying in a nearby church. Despite Magnentius' heroism, his troops were defeated. After a retreat into Gaul and another defeat, Magnentius committed suicide in 353.


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On 3 June 350, Iulius Nepotianus proclaimed himself emperor and entered Rome with a group of gladiators. On 30 June, Marcellinus, a trusted general of Magnentius, defeated and killed Nepotian. Nepotian's head was put on a lance and paraded around Rome.
SH67105. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Lyons 116 (S), LRBC II 215, SRCV V 18799, Cohen VIII 20, FDC, weight 4.909 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 18 Jan 350 - spring 351 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, A behind; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Magnentius riding right, spearing enemy, shield and broken spear on the ground, RPLG in exergue; SOLD


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"I am the alpha and the omega" is an appellation of Jesus in the Book of Revelation (verses 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13). Alpha (A) and omega (Ω) are respectively the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. This would be similar to referring to someone in English as the "A and Z." Thus, twice when the title appears it is further clarified with the additional title "the beginning and the end" (Revelation 21:6, 22:13). The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet were used because the Book of Revelation was originally written in Greek.
SH34852. Bronze reduced double maiorina, RIC VIII Trier 320 (without pellet in ex) or 323 (with pellet in ex.), VF, weight 6.842 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 352 - 353 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS DD NN AVG ET CAES (the salvation of our noble emperor and caesar), large Christogram flanked by A ω, TRP(pellet?) in exergue; SOLD


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Constans' cruelty, misrule and homosexuality made himself extremely unpopular. On 18 January 350, the army in Gaul proclaimed Magnentius emperor and Constans was forced to flee to Spain where he was assassinated. Magnentius ruled the Western Roman Empire and was far more tolerant towards Pagans.
RL66892. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Arles 139 (S), Bastien MM 234, LRBC II 420, SRCV V 18794, Cohen VIII 7, Choice EF, green patina, flat strike areas on reverse, weight 4.039 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, c. 18 Jan - end 350 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, laurel and rosette-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FELICITAS REIPVBLICE (the good fortune of the Republic), Magnentius standing left half left, bare head left, wearing military garb, long paludamentum hanging behind from shoulders, Victory on globe offering wreath in his right hand, vexillum with annulet design on ensign in left hand, F left, SAR in exergue; scarce; SOLD


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Magnus Magnentius was proclaimed emperor on 18 January 350 at Autun (Gaul) with support of the army on the Rhine frontier. Constans fled to Spain, where he was assassinated at Castrum Helenae. In the spring 351, Constans' brother Constantius marched West with 60,000 men to remove Magnus Magnentius but it would take more than two years to defeat him.
SH32711. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Amiens 11, Bastien MM 111, LRBC II 8, SRCV V 18816, sharp EF, weight 4.351 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Ambianum (Amiens, France) mint, 30 Jun 350 - spring 351 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, draped and cuirassed bust right, A behind; reverse VICTORIAE DD NN AVGG ET CAESS (victories of our lords, the two emperors and two caesars), two Victories holding shield inscribed VOT V MVLT X, AMB followed by a palm frond in exergue; SOLD


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On 3 June 350, Iulius Nepotianus proclaimed himself emperor and entered Rome with a group of gladiators. On 30 June, Marcellinus, a trusted general of Magnentius, defeated and killed Nepotian. Nepotian's head was put on a lance and paraded around Rome.
RT85636. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Trier 271, LRBC II 55, Bastien MM 32, SRCV V 18798, Cohen VIII 20, Hunter V 20, EF, well centered on a tight flan, attractive coppery surfaces, light marks, areas of slight porosity, weight 4.149 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 18 Jan 350 - spring 351 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed "heavy" bust right, A behind; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Magnentius in military dress galloping right, shield on left arm, spearing a barbarian before horse kneeling left with outstretched hands, shield and broken spear on the ground below horse, TRS followed by a crescent in exergue; SOLD


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This coin appears to have a dot between the R and the S in the mint mark. RS is not recorded in RIC for this type. RIC lists the RS (no dot) as common, however, market research indicates it is rare.
SH06890. Billon maiorina, RIC VIII Rome 177 var., EF, weight 5.21 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 19 Jan - 3 Jun 350 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE MAGNENTIVS AVG, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG LIB ROMANOR (victory of the Emperor, liberator of the Romans), Magnentius in military dress, standing right, left foot on bound seated captive, holding standard with eagle on banner in right and olive branch in left, RS in exergue; slightly irregular flan, near black patina, from the Scott Collection; rare; SOLD


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Magnentius, commander of Constans' imperial guard, rebelled in 350 A.D. He quickly gained the loyalty of Britannia, Gaul, and Hispania, in part because he was more tolerant towards Pagans. He made Decentius, his brother, caesar. Constantius II, who was fighting the Parthians in Syria, marched his armies west and defeated Magnentius at the Battle of Mursa Major in 351. Magnentius retreated into Gaul and it took two more years to eliminate him. After another defeat in battle, Magnentius committed suicide in 353.
RL21672. Billon heavy maiorina, Hunter V 36 (also 2nd officina), RIC VIII Lyons 112, LRBC II 211, Bastien MM 154, SRCV V 18792, Cohen VIII 7, gVF, a little grainy, weight 5.491 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 350 - 353 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, rosette-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FELICITAS REIPVBLICE (the good fortune of the Republic), Magnentius standing slightly left, bare head left, wearing military garb, long paludamentum hanging behind from shoulders, Victory on globe offering wreath in his right hand, labarum (chi-rho Christogram standard) in left hand, RSLG in exergue; ex Tom Cederlind; SOLD


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On 3 June 350, Iulius Nepotianus proclaimed himself emperor and entered Rome with a group of gladiators. On 30 June, Marcellinus, a trusted general of Magnentius, defeated and killed Nepotian. Nepotian's head was put on a lance and paraded around Rome.
SH04515. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Trier 269, LRBC II 53, SRCV V 18798, Cohen VIII 20, Bastien MM -, superb EF+, sharp, bold, fine green patina, fantastic reverse, weight 4.06 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 350 - 351 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed "heavy" bust right, A behind; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Magnentius in military dress galloping right, shield on left arm, spearing a barbarian before horse kneeling left with outstretched hands, shield and broken spear on the ground below horse, TRP in exergue; from the Aiello Collection; rare (R2); SOLD


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On 28 September 351, at the Battle of Mursa Major, Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius. The battle was one of the bloodiest in Roman military history. During the fighting Marcellinus, a general of Magnentius was killed, but Magnentius himself survived.
RL76200. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Lyons 136, LRBC II 227, Bastien MM 176, SRCV V 18820, EF, nice portrait, green patina, centered on a tight flan, weight 4.223 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, spring 351 - 18 Aug 353 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, A behind; reverse VICTORIAE DD NN AVG ET CAE (victories of our lords, Emperor and Caesar), two Victories standing confronted, together holding wreath containing VOT V MVLT X, SP below, RPLG in exergue; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
Magnentius, commander of Constans' imperial guard, rebelled in 350 A.D. He quickly gained the loyalty of Britannia, Gaul, and Hispania, in part because he was more tolerant towards Pagans. He made Decentius, his brother, caesar. Constantius II, who was fighting the Parthians in Syria, marched his armies west and defeated Magnentius at the Battle of Mursa Major in 351. Magnentius retreated into Gaul and it took two more years to eliminate him. After another defeat in battle, Magnentius committed suicide in 353.
SH76387. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Rome 197, Bastien MM 460 (14 spec.), LRBC II 638, SRCV V 18801, Cohen VIII 20 (3 fr.), Choice VF, nice chocolate tone, perfect centering, well struck with slight double strike on reverse, weight 5.364 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 135o, 6th officina, Rome mint, c. May - 3 Jun 350 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, draped and cuirassed bust right, A behind head; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Emperor in military dress galloping right, chlamys flying behind, not carrying shield, spearing a barbarian before horse wearing a pointed cap and kneeling left with arms extended, shield and broken spear on the ground below the horse, star above horse's head, RS in exergue; ex Harlan J. Berk; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

DNMAGMAGNENTIVSPFAVG
DNMAGNENTIOPERPETVOAVG
DNMAGNENTIVSAVG
DNMAGNENTIVSPFAG
DNMAGNENTIVSPFAVG
FLMAGNENTIVSPFAVG
IMCAEMAGNENTIVSAVG
IMPCAEMAGNENTIVSAVG
IMPCAESMAGNENTIVSAVG
MAGMAGNENTIVSAVG
MAGNENTIVSAVG


REFERENCES|

Bastien, P. Le Monnayage de Magnence (350-353). (Wetteren, 1983).
Carson, R., P. Hill & J. Kent. Late Roman Bronze Coinage, Part II: Bronze Roman Imperial Coinage of the Later Empire, A.D. 346-498. (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 frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 8: Carausius to Constantine & sons. (Paris, 1888).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Constantin II Zenon (337-491). Moneta 5. (Wetteren, 1996).
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).
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. V: The Christian Empire: The Later Constantinian Dynasty...Constantine II to Zeno, AD 337 - 491. (London, 2014).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
Voetter, O. Die Mnzen der romischen Kaiser, Kaiserinnen und Caesaren von Diocletianus bis Romulus: Katalog der Sammlung Paul Gerin. (Vienna, 1921).

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 5, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Magnentius