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Constantius II - Half maiorina


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On 12/6/2023 at 1:13 PM, Tejas said:

I just saw this coin from the Colkirk hoard (thanks to Donna, who posted the link). I guess this answers a few questions:

1. The phoenix clearly symbolizes the concepts of eternity or perpetuity through rebirth. 

2. The design was used beyond the anniversary of AD 348, suggesting perhaps that it was never directly linked to that event.



This is a coinage by Gratian, known only from Trier for Gratian himself, Theodosius and Val II. Beyond the fact that it revives the design of the earlier 348/9 half centenionalis, I think that it is also a hint of the general nostalgia in the 370s and 380s for the Constantinian era. In fact Gratian had other coinage that alluded to the Constantinians, more specifically Constantius II: in 374 he married Constantia, the posthumous daughter of Constantius II and struck a series of coins with the unusual obverse legend GRATIANVS AVG G AVG (standing possibly for Augustus Gener Augusti = Augustus, son-in-law of the Augustus) and the reverse legend of GLORIA NOVI SAECVLI, also a reminder (or reinterpretation) of the FEL TEMP REPARATIO idea. This was an Arles-only coinage. In 375 after the death of Valentinian I the obverse legend with AVG G AVG was briefly adopted for the GLORIA ROMANORVM emperor with labarum dragging captive at Lyon (RIC IX Lyon 20). So there is wider context of Gratian emphasizing his connection to Constantius II and/or the Constantinian dynasty more generally. 

The PERPETVETAS siliqua has to be post-379 and since it is so rare it was likely tied to a specific event. At this time the regular siliquae of the West were the VRBS ROMA.

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