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Julian II very late 361


seth77

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So in early 360, Julian is proclaimed Augustus in Gallia, marking the beginning of yet another civil conflict, at least politically. By 361, Julian secures Italia and Illyria/Dalmatia and he marches East. Constantius II is also on his march from Antioch to Europe, but before meeting Julian in battle, he dies of an unknown infection in early November 361. But not before acknowledging Julian as his rightful heir, thus sparing the Empire of another pointless civil war. From Sirmium, Julian's main army departs for Constantinople, where he'd reach in December 361 as a full Augustus and sole emperor.

The end of 361 and the first part of 362 is a somewhat sketchy period -- as Julian and his entourage settle scores with their political foes that had been close to the previous regime and whom Julian considered guilty for the deposition and execution of Gallus in 354. The end of 361 is also the last period of the monetary system of Constantius: between November 361 and very early 362 the Eastern mints strike the regular coinage that had started in 358 but with Julian as Augustus.

One of these Eastern mints is interesting -- Cyzicus. The mint had introduced after 358, but likely around 360, a symbol marking the SPES REIPVBLICE coinage, similar to an obtuse gamma in the left reverse field of the coin. It's easy to see in this symbol an episemon marking 'half' (as it had been the case with the earlier 3rd century Moesian coinage). Probably meant to mean half of the earlier FEL TEMP REPARATIO larger module.

julian.jpg.2db924b1c80ac033a16bf834e1d79297.jpg

AE4 16mm 1.65g
DN FL CL IVLI - ANVS PF AVG; laureate draped cuirassed and bearded bust r.
SPES REI - PVBLICE; emperor standing left, with helmet and military dress, holding globe in right hand and spear in left hand; episemon mark in left field.
SMKΔ in exergue
cf. RIC VIII Cyzicus 124

 

After December 361 and the securing of power at Constantinople by Julian's regime, there is still a short while of minting the types of Constantius II, although Cyzicus drops the markings of value. In 362, Julian starts his own monetary reform, introducing the votive 'large AE3' and the bull AE1 while these older types are discontinued.

This small coin marks the ending of an era.

Edited by seth77
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Nice example of an historical reference point.

My only Julian II also has a Spes reverse but is from Siscia and he has a lot of facial damage.

Julian II AE3. 355-361 AD struck under authority of Constantine II.
 DN IVLIAN-VS NOB C, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right /
SPES REI-PVBLICAE, emperor standing left, helmeted and in military dress, holding globe and inverted spear. Mintmark dot ΔSISV.
RIC VIII Siscia 402. Rated rare.
14mm, 2.25gr
Julian II, "The Apostate": Caesar 355-360 AD, Augustus 360-363 AD. The last true "pagan" emperor responsible for re-instating the Pagan religion, and who revered the ancient gods until the day he died in 363 from a javelin wound fighting the Persians.

 

20230501_081957__2_-removebg-preview-side.jpg

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Julian II AE1

Whilst the coinage of Julian is most remarkable for its depiction of the Apis bull, historians are uncertain of what the emperor actually intended to portray through this coinage. Was it an effort to link the emperor to the mysterious power of the bull common amongst the Egyptians?

Was it an attempt to portray the ritual sacrifice of bulls that Julian re-instated after decades of Christian-sympathizing rule? Or was it something else, perhaps a representation of the astrological sign Taurus?

The chronicler Ammianus Marcellinus is the primary source on Julian's reign and unfortunately never commented on the coinage, whilst mostly praising Julian's actions, personality, and character.

julian6.jpg.8ec8ffdf904698ff2d55258713db271a.jpg

julian5.jpg

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2 hours ago, Ancient Coin Hunter said:

Julian II AE1

Whilst the coinage of Julian is most remarkable for its depiction of the Apis bull, historians are uncertain of what the emperor actually intended to portray through this coinage. Was it an effort to link the emperor to the mysterious power of the bull common amongst the Egyptians?

Was it an attempt to portray the ritual sacrifice of bulls that Julian re-instated after decades of Christian-sympathizing rule? Or was it something else, perhaps a representation of the astrological sign Taurus?

The chronicler Ammianus Marcellinus is the primary source on Julian's reign and unfortunately never commented on the coinage, whilst mostly praising Julian's actions, personality, and character.

julian6.jpg.8ec8ffdf904698ff2d55258713db271a.jpg

julian5.jpg

My opinion is that the sun disk between the horns is an essential element of the iconography of the Apis bull. Without that, I'm not sure there's a real basis for drawing the connection. Given the star, perhaps the astrological connection is more likely.

Edited by DonnaML
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That’s a fun coin and a new target for me. I didn’t know the SPES coins were minted for him as Augustus. Like many, I find Julian a very interesting figure and find myself rooting for him when I read about him… even though I know how his story ends. I wish his coinage was a bit more diverse in bronze (where I can afford them!)

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12 hours ago, Orange Julius said:

That’s a fun coin and a new target for me. I didn’t know the SPES coins were minted for him as Augustus. Like many, I find Julian a very interesting figure and find myself rooting for him when I read about him… even though I know how his story ends. I wish his coinage was a bit more diverse in bronze (where I can afford them!)

I have been looking for these early Augustus period for Julian (I would also like a beardless votive siliqua with his Augustus legend) but they were not too high priorities. This one was 11EUR all factored in so it was just too good to pass.

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