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Magnus Maximus

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  1. Magnus Maximus AR Siliqua/Argentolus 1.7 grams Mediolanum mint- A.D. 387-388
  2. @Parthicus Thanks for the information. I’ll pass this info along.
  3. Hello all, I am trying to help a friend of mine properly identify this Abbasid dirham, he recently aquired. Any assistance would be appreciated.
  4. That lines up with them primarily being used to pay the soldier’s donatives. I believe on the accession of Valens and Valentinian I, it was recorded that a soldier got a pound of silver along with some solidii. Meaning they were traded by weight.
  5. @John Conduitt I think Peter Guest, author, did a good job of trying to tackle the issue of two different weight standards circulating at the same time. From
  6. I was thinking that as well. However, the curse tablet that refers to argentiolii was from the first half of the 4th century, well before Magnus Maximus introduced the 1.6 gram standard to Milian in 387.
  7. Yes, that’s the issue with the 4th century. We don’t know a lot and have to speculate more than I’d prefer.
  8. Absolutely. And this coin looks like it circulated for a week before it was buried.
  9. Hi folks, I am delighted to share with you my recent acquisition: a splendid siliqua/argentiolus of Magnus Maximus, minted in Mediolanum during the period of A.D. 387 to 388. This particular piece is of great historical interest, given its production following Magnus Maximus's conquest of Italy from Valentinian II. Notably, these coins were minted at a weight standard 30% lower than previously established, yet they maintained a remarkable silver purity of 97-98%. It is intriguing to note that, despite the introduction of this lower weight standard, the production of siliquae at the heavier standard continued in both Trier and Italy. The rationale behind Magnus Maximus's decision to issue siliquae of reduced weight remains a subject of speculation. One theory posits that these lighter coins were minted to facilitate payments to the field armies and merchants supporting Maximus's eastern campaign in late 388, though definitive evidence for this hypothesis is lacking. Furthermore, the co-circulation of both weight standards, as evidenced by their presence in hoards discovered across Gaul, Britain, and Italy, suggests that these coins were likely traded based on their weight rather than their nominal denomination, indicating their function as a form of bullion coinage. Otherwise Gresham’s law would denote that they would have fully replaced the heavier coins over time in hordes. Magnus Maximus AR Siliqua/Argentiolus A.D. 387 to 388 Mediolanum (Milan) mint 1.72 grams Obverse: Head of Emperor Magnus Maximus Reverse: Roma with globe and spear seated on throne facing forward. RIC 19a. C. 20
  10. What's particularly odd is the discovery of siliquae of various weights in large hoards, grouped together. This has led some historians, including one I've heard, to suggest that siliquae were valued and circulated more for their bullion weight than as a distinct coin denomination. This theory seems plausible to me, and I tend to agree with it.
  11. The siliqua gradually phased out of production towards the latter part of Emperor Valens' reign in the East, with only a minimal quantity being struck under Theodosius I. So I am not surprised why we don’t see large numbers minted there. The reduction in the Italian mints suggests to me that Valentinian II likely wasn't preparing for war when Magnus Maximus crossed into Italy, as there would have been little need to strike a large number of siliquae in such a scenario. Moreover, the rapidity with which Maximus overran Valentinian II's territory implies that Valentinian II's army was probably smaller in size. Additionally, it's important to remember the 388 incident when a group of Christians burned down a synagogue, leading to their censure by Magnus Maximus, a decision that notably displeased St. Ambrose. This episode suggests that Maximus was a more shrewd politician than most historians acknowledge.
  12. Fascinating subject, and one that I wasn't previously familiar with. It raises a question: Could the reduction in weight of siliquae in the Italian mints under Maximus's control also be connected? If my memory serves me right, he decreased their weights by approximately 30%, while maintaining their purity, and these circulated alongside the "heavier" issues still being produced at Trier.
  13. Very nice coin. I have a nice one I will post this weekend, that recently arrived. I approve of this siliqua. Indeed, Maximus required large amount of funds to compensate his soldiers and the large number of barbarian clients he had at his disposal. Consequently, Maximus’s persecution of Priscillian and his followers probably had more to do with a need for coin than it did with any religious intolerance. The surge in siliqua production occurred prominently in the regions of his primary headquarters, specifically from 383 to 387 in Gaul and from 387 to 388 in Italy. These funds served a dual purpose, as they not only directly compensated the soldiers for their service, but also facilitated payments to merchants and farmers supplying the field armies.
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