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Constantine I, for me a new reverse and a new mint


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Doesn't seem to be many choices from Sirmium mint for Constantine I. As it is a mint not previously seen on ANY of my coins, I couldn't resist.

CONSTANTINE I. Æ. Follis. Sirmium 324-325 AD

Obverse: CONSTANTINVS AVG. Laureate head right.
Reverse: SARMATIA DEVICTA. Victory holding trophy and palm, stepping over a Sarmatian captive.

SIRM in exergue

2.99g. 20mm RIC VII, 48


Edited by expat
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Here are a couple of old scans I did a few years ago.

To round out the RIC listings for this type from Sirmium.  These are the two types for Constantine II: they differ by the obverse inscription.







For Constantine the enemy are called the Sarmatians but for the sons they are the "Allamanni". All part of the same campaign.


Edited by lrbguy
added legends
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20 hours ago, lrbguy said:

For Constantine the enemy are called the Sarmatians but for the sons they are the "Allamanni". All part of the same campaign.


No, they are two distinct campaigns against two distinct People in two different areas and at different times. Constantine I fought against the Sarmatians (equestrian Iranians) on the Danube; while Crispus and Constantine II fought the Alamanni (Germanic tribes) on the Rhine.



Here's a SARMATIA I recently got from Arles





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Thank you for straightening that out, Victor.  I didn't check into it as thoroughly as I should have, and you saved me some trouble. 

Thanks too for showing us the example from Arelate. That opens the door to more of the story on these.

The DEVICTA reverses were primarily a phenomenon of the western mints.  Sirmium is only the easternmost of the 5 mints that put out these coins. The other four are London, Lyons (Lugdunum), Trier (Teveri), and Arles (Arelate), all for Constantine, i.e. SARMATIA DEVICTA:


London, RIC VII 289



Lyons  RIC VII 214   323-324 AD

In left field: C    In exergue:  PLG <crescent>


Lyons  RIC VII 222   323-324 AD

In left field: C    In exergue:  <dot>PLG


I also have three from ARLES which I will have to photograph and add to the mix another time. (the others are old scans) 

Then we will have most of the main varieties of this type in one thread. (or at least an example from every mint.)

Edited by lrbguy
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This is a graphic I posted a while back showing the locations of the two campaigns - Constantine battling the Sarmatians in the east, and Crispus battling the Alamanni in the west. It seems both campaigns must have been roughly the same time, but with Sirmium issuing Alamannia Devicta (.SIRM.) after Sarmatia Devicta (SIRM).

The date here is 324 AD, with these DEVICTA types having been issued after the VOT XX types and Constantine's excluding the Licinii from his coinage, and before the campgates issued at the beginning of Constantine's sole rule.

Constantine is resident in the east now, at Sirmium, and issues the SARMATIA type celebrating his local victory both from Sirmium as well as from his western mint of Arles. Crispus (who wasn't always in lockstep with Constantine's coinage) follows along and issues SARMATIA DEVICTA from the mints under his control - Trier, Lyons and London, and perhaps at this point Constantine reciprocates by having Sirmium issue ALAMANNIA DEVICTA celebrating Crispus's successful campaign against the Alammani (Constantine II is also included, but at 8 years old presumably didn't actually participate in the campaign).

While Constantine has been pushing the Sarmatians back, the Goths have broken through into Moesia, and Constantine pursues them across the border into Licinius' territory of Thracia triggering their 2nd civil war ending in Constantine's victory and beginning of his sole rule of the empire.

Here's a scarcer variant of the Arelate SARMATIA with a cuirassed bust. It deserves a  better photo, but just took this in a hurry.


Edited by Heliodromus
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Great post Heliodromus!  I appreciated your map work which made it very clear how the tribes and troops were arranged.  I also very much appreciated seeing your Arelate 258 (RIC) and your reminder that these were issued JUST before the campgates.  That alerted me to something I had overlooked. 



This coin from Arelate is unlisted in RIC.  After your comments I now believe it is a transitional piece displaying one of the earliest of the Arelate campgate mark types, S*AR<dot>. Have not yet looked into it, but probably should.


Thought I'd also show yet another from Trier, this one is an RIC 435 like the one Victor posted, but this is officina P.




Finally, if it won't cause offense, I thought I would show another example for Crispus from Sirmium.


It's another example of RIC 49, like that of AmbrOzie above.

This thread has convinced me that I am going to have to do something about my coin pics.  They all end up WAAAY too contrasty.  I suspect part of the problem is the black background.  I really like the pics that Victor put up and want to move in that direction.  Not sure if he is using a white background, or has removed the background in the edit.  I also plan to rethink the way I handle the lighting.  Any tips would be welcome.





Edited by lrbguy
corrected a typo
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20 hours ago, lrbguy said:

I now believe it is a transitional piece displaying one of the earliest of the Arelate campgate mark types, S*AR<dot>

Hard to say whether this is same issue as RIC 280 (campgate S*AR dot) or not, especially as Arles was bit of a maverick mint!

You'd have thought that new reverse types under sole rule would warrant a new issue mark (even if just Arles' unimaginative reuse of P*AR!), rather than just using the existing P*AR dot "continuation issue" (how I think of these X, then X dot issues), but who knows?! Deserves a closer look.

Some of these "dot issues" seem to have been very brief, so there might just have been P*AR, P*AR dot SARMATIA followed by P*AR, P*AR dot PROVIDENTIAE.

Related to this, the SARAMATIA type likely overlapped with the end of the VOT XX, VOT X issues, as supported by a couple of other unlisted dot issues. Bastien notes PLG dot being used both for VOT X and SARMATIA, and there is also an unlisted London PLON crescent dot mark used for both. The Crispus below is mine, the SARMATIA is from Not In RIC (ex. CNG 87.1158).




Edited by Heliodromus
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