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Three coins for September


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My September order arrived and it has only three coins, but they are each very special.

In chronological order:

1. A nicely preserved Salonina with very little wear and shiny surfaces, that unfortunately looks matte in the picture:


It's one of the early issues of Antioch after Odaenathus recaptured it from the Sasanians in 262, probably from the plentiful issues minted by Odaenathus for Gallienus and Salonina in 263-4 to finance his Persian campaigns. In 263 when this coin was struck, he was 'dux Romanorum' and 'corrector totius Orientis' and he seems to have shared the titles of 'Persicus maximus' and 'Parthicus maximus' with Gallienus. There is also some implication that coin was minted 'for' him at Antioch in 263 -- there is a discussion on the notes in Historia Augusta "vocavit eiusque moneta, que Persas captos traheret, cudi iussit" -- but that should be taken likelier as coin minted 'by' him (for Gallienus).

But this coin also has an intrinsic point of interest: in his haste, the die cutter carved VINO instead of IVNO on the reverse legend. Perhaps a very thirsty worker who anticipated some drinks at the local taberna. The die was also used for some time even with this misspelling, the coins are not that rare. These emissions in 263 and in 264 were so massive and the acceptance of error legends might indicate that the coins were hastily minted, as Odaenathus wanted to make full use of as much coinage and as fast as possible. In fact 263 is probably the year when he had a free hand not only in military matters but also civil and economic matters (perhaps implied by the 'corrector totius Orientis' title), while afterwards the civil servants of Rome in the East became the likelier channel through which Rome was again in control of the civil life, although Odaenathus remains the overall master of the Eastern military.


2. A very rare commemorative of Constantine I or a special legend for Constantine II


This AE4 was struck around the summer to autumn 337 at Heraclea (ex-Perinthus) and it's likely connected to the somewhat ambiguous status that Roman Europa had after the first partition of the Empire at the death of Constantine the Great -- Constantine II got the portion west of the Alps, Constans Italia, Illyricum and Africa and Constantius the East (that is east of the Propontis). As such Thracia, Moesia, Scythia were not under direct control of either brother and would enter Constantius' domain after the unsuccessful attempt by Constantine II against Constans in 340.

The legend CONSTANTI - NVS V M AVG is unique to Heraclea and hints to a short early post-Constantine the Great period, when the mint workers were still getting used to the new realities of the Imperial family. RIC pp. 427-8 gives two interpretations for this legend: 

1. the coinage is in the name of Constantine II as 'Victor Maximus' -- a title he inherited from Constantine I.

2. the coinage is meant to be an experimental foray into the commemorative issues for Constantine I, in which case the V M could mean 'Venerandae Memoriae' (the later VN - MR posthumous coinage for Constantine the Great is well known).

To me 1. seems unlikely -- would a mint outside the control of Constantine II and rather far away from his domain give this ruler in particular the most prestigious title after MAX AVG had been awarded to Constantine the Great, a title that is not present even at the mints under Constantine Jr's direct control?


3. S.2425 -- Michael VIII with Andronikos II (1272-1282) or Andronikos II with Michael IX (1295-1320)


This is one of the more obscure issues of the late 13th century Constantinople mint. DOC has it as Michael VIII and Andronikos II, post 1272 while Sear has it as Andronikos II and Michael IX , post 1295. It's a rather rare issue, with a unique obverse iconography: a labarum over a crescent. There are a few trachy types that do not use anthropomorphic and saintly images on the obverse and I don't think I am too out of line to link them to military campaigns. At least this type here has clear military undertones, with the large labarum on obverse and the two emperors showing a united front holding together the patriarchal cross on the reverse. From the very few specimens that preserve some letters in the left field (this one only has some on the right O ΠAΛEO...) it seems that the left figure (from our perspective) -- the main figure in the Eastern Roman imperial iconography -- is Michael, and if so, Michael VIII and Andronikos II would fit better. Could a campaign against the Latins in Morea be the occasion for minting such an evocative coinage?


So this is was my numismatic September and it cost around 50EUR.

Edited by seth77
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