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Constantius II and the Triumph of A.D. 357

Magnus Maximus

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Emperor Constantius II entered Rome on 28 April 357; it was the first time in his life that he visited the City of Rome.

Constantius had been in Mediolanum since 353, campaigning against the Germans on the Danube frontier and desperately trying to retake northern Gaul from the invading Alemanni; northern Gaul having gone to hell in a handbasket ever since Magnentius's defeat at Mursa Major in 353.

After stabilizing the situation by 355, Constantius elevated his young cousin Julian to the rank of Caesar to deal with the crisis in Gaul while he eventually set off for the Eternal City to celebrate a well deserved triumph. 

The contemporary historian Ammianus Marcellinus said that the visit was to shore up the Arian Christian Emperor's position with the still largely Pagan Roman Senate and aristocracy. Others say it was just a sightseeing tour. I personally belive that Constantius II wanted to show stability and strength after the tumultuous start to the decade.

Here is the description of Constantius's procession into the City on April 28th, from an eyewitness (Ammianus):

"The Emperor was greeted with welcoming cheers, which were echoed from the hills and riverbanks, but in spite of the din he exhibited no emotion, but kept the same impassive air as he commonly wore before his subjects in the provinces... he was like a dummy, gazing straight before him as if his head were in vice and turning neither to right nor left. When a wheel jolted he did not nod, and at no point was he seen to spit or wipe or rub his face or nose or to move his hand"

Though Constantius may have been a bit serious in the procession, he let himself go while he stayed in the City. The sources state how he marveled in awe at the fabulous City's columns, arches, and temples. He is said to have compared the glory of Rome's monuments to the ancient Greek and Persian cities he had visited earlier in his life. While in Rome, he stayed in the old Flavian Palace on the Palatine hill and hosted games in the adjacent Circus Maximus and nearby Flavian Amphitheater. The people loved Constantius, and Constantius loved the people and their City. In gratitude for the hospitality and pleasantness the City had shown him, he shipped an Obelisk from Alexandria and placed it in the Circus Maximus. Constantius became a tourist to the City that had created the office he was in, ironic!

Unfortunately, the stay in Rome had to be cut short since the Sarmatians were causing problems on the Danube frontier which required the Emperors presence. I find this little story in Roman history to be fascinating as it shows how the City that had started it all still could put on a heck of a show! 

An artist's interpretation of Constantius II's triumph in Rome 


The Lateran Obelisk that Constantius II gave to the Senate and People of Rome


The Flavian Palace that Constantius stayed at.


I orignially posted the above text way back in 2015 on CT, but feel that my latest coin justifies it's reposting on numisforums. This siliqua was minted between 353 and 355 in the city of Rome. Before I had purchased this coin, I wasnt even aware the mint at Rome was even striking silver coinage. 

Constantius II, 337-361. Siliqua (Silver, 20 mm, 3.10 g, 11 h), Rome, 352-355. D...

Constantius II, 337-361. Siliqua (Silver, 20 mm, 3.10 g, 11 h), Rome, 352-355. D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Constantius II to right. Rev. VOTIS / XXX / MVLTIS / XXXX in four lines within laurel wreath; in exergue, R. RIC 234. Some marks, otherwise, good very fine. Very Rare.

Many thanks to @Valentinianand @seth77for their information on this rare piece. 

Feel free to post any coins of Constantius II 

Edited by Magnus Maximus
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An interesting story. I like the emperor as tourist :classic_biggrin:


Reduced Siliqua, Arles
Obv.: DN CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust
Rev.: VOTIS/XXX/MVLTIS/XXXX within wreath, PCON
Ag, 17mm, 2.1 g
Ref.: RIC VIII, 291

Edited by shanxi
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That is the best quality I have ever seen for this scarce issue of Rome. I think that the scarcity of silver coinage at this point is mostly related to where the emperor was and what he was doing, with most silver coinage being struck in the mint where he would reside for his military expenditures. The mints that where not close to the military focal point of the moment and where the emperor was not stationed minted little to no siliquae. To me this seems to be the situation at least on the Danube front and in the East. But if you look at the Western siliquae in the 350s, that's also the case there -- there is little to no issuing in the 350s until Julian gets instated as Caesar and then it's a boom of silver coinage covering both his campaigns to pacify Gaul and his revolt against Constantius.

Anyways here's another Rome tricennalia issue from Rome. I have seen at least one being dated '355-357' -- which I think it's because the seller wanted to tie it to the emperor's visit. But at 3g+ it would be too heavy for this period. I think that the best bet for a dating would be the straight forward 353-4, as a dedication for the emperor's tricennalia even if the emperor wasn't there. This could also account for the scarcity of the issue while Eastern siliquae and outputs from Siscia and Sirmium are abundant to copious.


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Wonderful coin in every way!

Here is my very inexpensive Constantius II... but I do like the detail. On this coin you will see the Leaf in between the two Victories... there are many different symbols featured between the two Victories on these issues..


Obv: CONSTANTIVS P F AVG - Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Constantius II. Rev: VICTORIAE DD AVGGQ NN - Two victories, facing each other, each holding wreath and palm; Leaf between, TRS in ex. (Trier mint).

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Thanks for the kind words and lovely coins, all.

Here are some of my favorites of Constantius II:


Constantius II

Siliqua (3,17g, 20/22mm), Thessalonica (Salonika), 340-350 AD
Av.: D N CONSTANTI-VS P F AVG, bust with rosette diadem, paludamentum and breastplate n.r.
Rv.: VICTORIA – DD NN AVGG / TES (in section), Victoria with wreath and tropaeum n.l.RIC 94, RSC 263d. Small scratches.


VF AR Pre Reform Siliqua
DN Constantius PF AVG - Diademed, draped and cuirassed and bust of Contsantius II facing right

3.11 grams

Edited by Magnus Maximus
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Bronze Coin (AE 4) minted at Antioch (SMANT) during the reign of CONSTANTANTIUS II between 347 – 348 A.D. Pre reform bronze coinage Obv. D.N.CONSTAN-TIVS.P.F.AVG. Pearl diad. bust r. Rev. VOT XX MVLT XXX. in four lines within wreath with jewel at apex. RCS #4000. RICVIII #113 pg.451. DVM #83 pg. 299. LRBC #1397.



Bronze coin (AE 4) minted at Siscia during the reign of CONSTANTIUS II between 354 - 361 A.D. Second period. Obv. D.N.CONSTANTIVS.P.F.AVG. pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right. Rev. SPES.REIPVBLICE. CONSTANTIUS II standing l., holding globe & spear, star in right field, gamma SIS in ex. VF Original green-brown patina. RCS #4011. DVM #105.



Edited by Jims,Coins
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