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Jovian AR Siliqua

Magnus Maximus

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The man who would become known to us as Emperor Jovian was born in A.D. 331 in Roman Ilyria. His father, Varronianus, served in the army and eventually became the commander of the Imperial guards under Constantius II. Although Jovian's mother's name remains unknown to us, the influence of his father's military career was evident. Following in Varronianus's footsteps, Jovian joined the Imperial Guard. His service was first documented in 361 when he escorted the remains of Constantius II to Constantinople.

Despite his youth, Jovian rapidly ascended through the ranks of the Eastern imperial military. He was part of Emperor Julian's Persian expedition in 363. But when Julian met his end at the hands of a Sassanid javelin, the army was thrown into disarray. Military leaders convened to determine a successor and the future course of action, given the precarious situation. After Julian's first-choice candidate declined the role due to his advanced age, Jovian was acclaimed Emperor. This was not a moment of pure triumph, as he faced an army trapped deep in enemy territory, with dwindling supplies and morale. Understanding the imminent threat of a Sassanid assault, Jovian negotiated a truce with the Persian Shah Shapur. The ensuing treaty stipulated a thirty-year truce, demanded the Romans forfeit their influence in Armenia, and mandated the surrender of several territories to the Sasanian Empire. This treaty reversed six decades of Roman gains, a setback that wouldn't be rectified until the reign of Eastern Emperor Maurice Tiberius.

Following this treaty, Jovian led the remnants of the Roman expedition back to Antioch. The locals, frustrated by the terms of the peace agreement, expressed their anger with derogatory graffiti depicting the Emperor. Jovian then moved towards Constantinople to take control of the Empire and stabilize it. During his journey, he restored Christianity to its pre-Julian prominence within the empire, confiscated pagan temple funds for the Imperial treasury, and reintroduced the Labarum to the military.

By December 363, while in Ancyra, Jovian appointed his young son, Varronianus, as consul. Tragically, during his travel from Ancyra to Constantinople, Jovian was found dead in his tent at Dadastana on 17 February 364. He was only 33. Although the exact cause of his death remains a matter of speculation, it's believed he might have inhaled toxic fumes emanating from fresh paint in his tent, worsened by a nearby brazier. He was buried in Constantinople. In later years, under the rule of Valentinian I and Valens, his son Varronianus was blinded and exiled.


And now, I am pleased to present to you all my first siliqua of Emperor Jovian. 



Jovian 363-364AD Silver Siliqua

Diademed, laureate and cuirassed bust/VOT/V/MVL/X, Constantinople

RCV19206, 19mm, 1.75g


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Nice example. He doesn't seem to show up too often. I only have one coin of Jovian. Although it happens to be a solidus, he has the 'plague'.

Jovian Solidus, 363-364
Constantinople. Gold, 21mm, 4.51g. Rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust to right; D N IOVIA-NVS P F PERP AVG. Roma, holding spear, seated facing and supporting shield inscribed VOT V MVLT X in four lines with Constantinopolis, holding sceptre and seated to left with foot on prow; SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE; CONSP in exergue (RIC VIII, 170). From the West Norfolk Hoard 2020 (also known as Grimston), Portable Antiquities Scheme: NMS-669388

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Excellent, @Magnus Maximus! I also have only one coin of Jovian -- also a VOT V MVLT X-type siliqua, but this one minted in Nicomedia:

Jovian, AR Reduced Siliqua,* Nicomedia Mint (now Izmit, Turkey), AD 363-364. Obv. Pearl-diademed, draped, & cuirassed bust right, D N IOVIAN-VS P F AVG / Rev. VOT/V/MVLT/X in four lines within laurel wreath; in exergue: SMN [Nicomedia]. 18 mm., 2.11 g., 7 h. RIC VIII 127 (p. 485), RSC V Jovian 33Ae (ill. p. 147), Sear RCV V 19209 (ill. p. 287). Purchased from Leu Numismatik AG, Winterthur, Switzerland, Web Auction 21, 19 Jul 2022, Lot 5522, ex Collection of Dipl.-Ing. [ = Engineering Master’s Degree] Adrian Lang, b. Germany 1956.**


*See Sear RCV V at p. 271: “in AD 357 the weight of the [siliqua] denomination was reduced by one-third to 2 scripula or 2.25 grams.”


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Nice Siliqua MM and good writeup.

Coincidentally, today's mail, (Monday) brought me not one, but two Jovians, (that I had almost given up on).

AE19.2mm., 2.58gm.

RIC VIII 426 Siscia mint

Magical Snap - 2023.09.04 15.12 - 026.jpg

AE20.7mm., 2.03gm.

RIC VIII 424 Siscia

Magical Snap - 2023.09.04 14.59 - 021.jpg

Edited by Topcat7
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I have a webpage on AE coin of Jovian:


He minted only four types (not counting mints). Here is the rarest one:

14 mm. 1.70 grams. Small!
Mintmark, if any, not legible
RIC Rome 335 "R4" -- only two were known to Kent.
In RIC Kent comments that the mintmarks on the two examples he is aware of are uncertain,
but one might be R.

This extremely rare type was minted only at Rome.


The webpage is, again: http://augustuscoins.com/ed/Jovian/Jovian.html

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This is one of these coins I always come back to in my collection. Condition is not perfect, but this large coin has a great presence.

Exergue: ANT (gamma)
Mint: Antioch, 3rd officina
Weight: 8.14g (26mm)



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