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Two magnificent coins from @Spaniard showed up yesterday.  If memory serves, they were personal offers, but very much on the rebound from no less amazing stuff he'd sold me through the Cabinet.

...Back up a little.  I mostly hang out in the earlier middle ages (9th-earlier 13th centuries).  Which inexorably involves making the historical significance a higher criterion than the esthetics.  (In a world reeking of false dichotomies, this ain't one of 'em.)  Right, 'coins as miniature documents;' emphasis on the legends, and that kind of thing.  I'm fine with it, since my interest in obsession with coins has always been secondary to the history that they variously explicate and symptomize. 

Which, ironically or not, is why it's so much fun to make forays into other periods.  Whether for ancients or early modern stuff, I get to let my guard down a little, and give the esthetics higher priority.  In these cases, though, the coins serve as prototypes for medieval issues.  A lot of this will be redundant, relative to other posts, but I, for one, am happy enough not to care any more.

...Case in point.  This follis of Maxentius is magnificent.  In hand, there's some silvering in the reverse fields.  Similarly, the detail of the hair and beard are of the kind that routinely defies photography.MAX_TOGETHHER.jpg.5d8bad7eceb1260ac7600c81528a6df3.jpg

From @Spaniard's description, in correspondence:

Maxentius AE Follis, Rome. AD 306-312...23/25mm diameter..6.92gr
Obverse..IMP C MAXENTIVS PF AVG, laureate head right.
Reverse..CONSERV VRB SVAE, Roma seated front, head left, shield at her side, within hexastyle temple, holding globe and sceptre, wreath in pediment, knobs as acroteria.
Mintmark RBS. RIC VI Rome 210; Sear 14987.

From a medieval kind of place, this has to evoke the Carolingian and eventual French feudal (and Ottonian German) issues that imitate late Roman temple motifs.  

This one, effectively the medieval prototype, has already Christianized the temple motif.  Well, God bless them with that.  ...Or, 'Best of luck,' if you wanted to translate from the Monotheism.  Louis I, son and successor of Charlemagne, 813/4-840.  

 image.jpeg.35d0219f960227e82f1336f994e490e1.jpeg

Rev. XPISTIANA RELIGIO.  (The first two letters transliterated from the Orthodox Greek; cf. the Kyrie in the (otherwise, mostly) Latin Mass.)

Obv.  +HLVDOVVICVS IMP[ERATOR].  (No less eloquently demonstrating the Germanic origin of '[H]ludowicus,' even as Latinized here.  Here's where you get the Modern French 'Louis,' and the Modern German 'Ludwig.'  As if the two languages divided up the medieval Latin: you take that part, I'll take this.  ...Just in terms of the linguistic dynamics, I love watching this kind of stuff happen.)

And the one of Licinius,with more silvering than I've ever seen on anything from the  early 4th century, is no less amazing.  Again with @Spaniard's full attribution.

image.jpeg.b5d2c4e31f0614edcf326f0508613f3c.jpeg

Licinius I AE3. AD 317. 19mmdia (some silvering remains)
Obverse-IMP LICI-NIVS AVG, Laureate, draped bust left, holding globe, sceptre and mappa
Reverse-PROVIDENTIAE AVGG, campgate, 5 layers, three turrets, no doors.
Mintmark MHTA. RIC VII 17 Heraclea 1st oficina (minted 317AD)

The gate motif was copied by the Carolingians, and again, roughly a century and a half later, by the early Capetians.  Here's Charles the Bald (842-877), of Orleans (rev. '+AVRE [...] LI [...] ANIS,' from 6 o'clock):

image.jpeg.716a3db52143b5f71bb8bf06716b0b20.jpeg

And this is Hugh, son of Robert II (who he predeceased), as Count of Orleans.  The motif is continued by Capetian kings into the 12th century.

image.jpeg.8f17f8b17ab21e0cbe4a73151ef9c0b2.jpeg

image.jpeg.a7600e1418e12d4ed1cc83c87fa890e6.jpeg

So, Yeah, I'm a very happy camper.  I've said this before, too, but it's fun to imagine the kinds (and scale) of hoards people were digging up as early as this.  But it's also a  resonant reminder of how central the Roman ethos --granted, mainly by way of its later phases-- was to the medieval world.  That's effectively continuous, going all the way back to the original Germanic tribes having fallen all over themselves to appropriate as much Roman culture as they possibly could.

 

Edited by JeandAcre
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