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Constantine I


syzygy
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Recently, I gave my favorite Constantine I to some friends as part os a wedding gift. I printed up a nice little pamphlet to go with the coin based upon my own research and thought you guys might enjoy checking it out also. Those who don't know much about these ancients, may find the narrative interesting. While I have a lot of interest in late Roman Empire coinage, I am by no means an expert. So, the many, with more knowledge on the subject, may be able to make corrections and additions.

 

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AD 306-337, Bronze follies, 23 mm.

 

Constantine I

The emperor Constantine has rightly been called the most important emperor of Late Antiquity. His powerful personality laid the foundations of post-classical European civilization; his reign was eventful and highly dramatic. His victory at the Milvian Bridge counts among the most decisive moments in world history, while his legalization and support of Christianity and his foundation of a 'New Rome' at Byzantium rank among the most momentous decisions ever made by a European ruler. The fact that ten Byzantine emperors after him bore his name may be seen as a measure of his importance and of the esteem in which he was held. (from http://www.roman-emperors.org)

 

Yes, it’s real. The Romans were particularly proficient at coinage and many examples have survived. Individuals have painstakingly researched and cataloged varieties. Authenticity is supported when a specimen, such as this one can be found in significant numbers and cataloged. For a coin from this era, refer to RIC (Roman Imperial Coinage). I want, but do not yet have any of the RIC volumes, but Volume 6, p519, 61b should be a close match. Reference works by Sears and others have also cataloged this type.

 

Coined during the rule of Constantine I, it was manufactured during the period 306-337 AD, nearly 1700 years ago. You can hold the same coin in your hand that was used 1700 years ago. The denomination is called a follis.

 

Reading the Obverse:

The Romans did not use too many spaces to separate the words on the coin so they all appear to run together. The inscription reads “IMPCCONSTANTINVSPFAVG”, standing for: Imperator Caesar Constantinus Pius Felix Augustus

 

IMP – Imperator (Emperor)

C - Caesar

CONSTANTINVS – His family name, “Constantine”

PF - Pius Felix (loosely, holy and joyous)

AVG – Augustus (remember, the Roman ‘V’ equates to our modern ‘U’). Augustus is the most distinctive of imperial titles and is used only by the reigning emperor or his family.

The bust is, of course, Constantine and is described as laureate, draped and cuirassed, facing right. Draped, refers to the presence of the garment worn. Laureate and cuirassed, refers to the style of the “headband” worn.

 

Reading the reverse:

The inscription reads “IOVICONSERVATORIAVGGNN”. Separated, it reads: IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG NN, and stands for “IOVI CONSERVATORI AUGUSTORUM NOSTRORUM”. In this case, the GG and NN indicate plurals. The inscription translates – (to) Jupiter, conservator of our emperors.

The devices feature the god,Jupiter, standing with a scepter, holding Victory on a globe. An eagle below with a wreath in its beak.

In the exergue (the area near the bottom of the reverse), you can see “TSE”, standing for Thesalonica – the mint that manufactured the coin.

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Constantine I

The emperor Constantine has rightly been called the most important emperor of Late Antiquity. His powerful personality laid the foundations of post-classical European civilization; his reign was eventful and highly dramatic. His victory at the Milvian Bridge counts among the most decisive moments in world history, while his legalization and support of Christianity and his foundation of a 'New Rome' at Byzantium rank among the most momentous decisions ever made by a European ruler.

 

 

A very nice coin of a very important person in history. Definately not the favourite Emperor though.

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Guest Stujoe

Nice coin and a nice write up! Thanks!

 

I only have a couple of ancients but I think everyone should own at least one. I started with 5 buthave given a couple away do to the above thinking. :ninja:

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