RIC VIII Siscia 229

Title

RIC VIII Siscia 229

Date

348-350 CE

Description

A Coin from the Roman Empire

Subject

Coin, Emperor, Constans, Constantinius

Publisher

Bethel University

Contributor

Jeremy Tutt

Coverage

POINT(1822454.57548542 5697909.84686708)

Relation

Render Unto Caesar Coin Project

Type

Coin

Format

image/jpeg

Language

Latin

Mint

Siscia (Sisak)

Denomination

AE3

Authority

Constans I (337-350 A.D.)

Deity

Felix Tempus Reparatio

Portrait

Constantius II

Region

Pannonia

Material

Bronze

Obverse Legend

D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG

Obverse Type

Bust of Constantius II, Pearl-diademed, Draped, Cuirassed

Reverse Legend

FEL-TEMP REPARATIO

Reverse Type

Constantius II standing left on galley holding phoenix on globe in right hand and standard with Chi-Rho on banner in left hand steering the ship is seated Victory

Obverse Analysis

Emperor Flavius Julius Constans Augustus was the youngest of Constantine the Great’s three sons. Some notable characteristics of his were cruelty, valiance in war and a love for hunting. There are also sources that speak to his sexual vices including homo-sexuality and engaging in sex with barbarians.
Upon his Fathers death (Constantine the Great, 337 CE), Constans would inherit the Roman Empire with his two elder brothers, Constantine and Constantius. The Empire would be split between the three brothers with Constans and Constantine presiding over “the Alps, together with Italy and Illyricum, the countries bordering on the Euxine sea and all that belonged to Carthage in Africa; Constantius obtained all Asia, the east, and Egypt.” It wasn’t long before Constans and Constantine started to fight over the regions they shared control over. Sources differ in their explanation of how Constans eventually killed his brother and took control over half of the empire. Zozimus (Greek historian, Nova Historia), recounts that Constans hid his disdain from his brother for three years and then in 340 CE, Constans sent over soldiers under the guise of aid for Constantine against the Persians. Instead of giving assistance, these soldiers assassinated Constantine. Another source, Sextus Aurelius Victor, (Roman Historian and Politician, Epitome De Caesaribus) says that upon dividing the empire, the two brothers immediately disagreed over land. When an intoxicated Constantine attempted to claim lands from Constans, he was killed and throw into the Alsa River near Aquileia.
According to Zozimus, after having his brother killed, Constans ruled as a tyrant that exercised every kind of cruelty in the book upon his people. A third historian Eutropius (Breviarium ab urbe condita) offers a slightly different course for Constans that eventually results in the same end. “(For) Constans his Reign for some time was great and just, afterwards through sickness and the persuasions of some of his worst Friends, being grown vicious and intolerable to the Subjects of the Provinces, and unacceptable to his Soldiers….”
Due to his cruel tyranny, a conspiracy was started by Marcellinus, prefect of the treasury, and Magnentius, a general over two legions, to overthrow his rule. While Constans was on a hunting trip Marcellinus and Magnetius devised a plan to assassinate him. Upon realizing the plot, with his own court guards turned against him, Constans fled to the Pyrenean Mountains in Spain, but would be killed at Helena. Constans ruled as Augustus for 13 years died at the age of 27.

Reverse Analysis

The first thing you might have noticed about this coin is that Constans is the authority under which it was minted but the bust depicted is actually Constantius II. Constantius was Constans older brother and at the time of the coins making, Constans would rule over the Western Roman Empire while Constantius ruled over the eastern half. The mint mark on this coin (ASIS) indicates that it was minted in Siscia which was close the border separating the two which could explain why the coin depicts Constantius instead of Constans.
On the coin Constantius is wearing a diadem (royal headband, purple band fitted with jewels and pearls). Constantine I was the first Roman emperor to dawn the diadem and after him, in became common practice for Roman emperors to wear the pearled headband. Wearing a diadem was also practiced by the Greeks which would explain why Roman emperors rejected wearing them for a time as a love of Greek culture had a history of being looked down upon in Roman history. Constantius is also depicted wearing a cuirass which is a piece of armor covering the chest and back. He is also shown draped in some royal garb. Both of these were common in depictions of emperors.

Mintmark

ASIS

Diameter

15 mm

Weight

1.89 g

Files

RomancoinTutt0101.jpg
RomancoinTutt0102.jpg

Citation

“RIC VIII Siscia 229,” Render Unto Caesar, accessed May 22, 2024, https://renderuntocaesar.betheldigitalscholarship.org/items/show/21.

Output Formats