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A Siliqua from Victor Magnus Maximus Perpetuus Triumphator Semper Augustus


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Greetings all,

I recently acquired a lovely siliqua of Magnus Maximus, who in some form or another ruled the Western Roman Empire from 383 to 388 AD. Like I and many others have said before, Maximus grew up in what is now modern-day Galicia, Spain, on the estates of Count(Comes) Theodosius before he joined the Roman army. Maximus was a competent subordinate and rose through the ranks to eventually command a garrison of troops near Hadrian's wall in Britain. After defeating a band of raiding Picts in early 383, soldiers under Maximus declared him Emperor, having grown dissatisfied with the rule of Emperor Gratian. Maximus overthrew Gratian in a relatively bloodless coup and then entered into negotiations with Theodosius I in the east and Valentinian II in Italy. Maximus, against all odds, managed to get imperial recognition from Theodosius I and Valentinian II in exchange for not invading Italy. While we don't know much of what Maximus was up to in his five years in Gaul, he seems to have run a competent administration and even campaigned across the Rhine frontier. What little we know of the domestic affairs of Magnus Maximus comes from letters he forwarded to the court of Valentinian II and to Pope Siricus of Rome. The aforementioned documents were later preserved in a collection of Church documents called the Collectivo Avellana

In his letter to the court of Valentinian II, usually dated to 386, Maximus berates Valentinian II for embracing Arian Christianity and begs him to return Italy to the rightful rule of Nicene Christianity. Author Maria Pano sees this letter as a move designed to isolate and delegitimize the reign of Valentinian II as he was embroiled in a religious pissing match between his Arian mother and Bishop Ambrose of Milian. 

In the second letter to Pope Siricus, usually dated to 386 as well, Maximus tells the reader that he was born into Nicene Christianity, in stark contrast to the Arian-born Valentinian II. Maximus then explains how he plans to respect the church's power and stay out of bishops' affairs. Maximus's claim about staying out of ecclesiastical affairs may seem odd considering that he tacitly approved the execution of the Christian heretic Priscilian. However, the Emperor claims that he was only carrying out the verdict that was given by the council of bishops at Trier in 385. 

Diplomacy between the courts of Magnus Maximus and Valentinian II eventually broke down in mid 387 and saw the forces of Maximus easily invade Italy and nearly capture the fleeing Valentinian II. Maximus would later face off against the armies of Theodosius I in 388 at the Save river in a bloody battle that would see him defeated. Maximus's brother, Marcellinus, managed to launch a successful counterattack against Theodosius I, which allowed the army of Maximus to retreat to Aquileia, where he would later be cornered and executed by the forces of Theodosius I. 

Interestingly enough, in his letters to the Court of Valentinian II, Maximus styled himself as Victor Magnus Maximus Perpetuus Triumphator Semper Augustus which roughly translates to 'Victorius Magnus Maximus Always Triumphant Ever Augustus"!

In honor of the forever Augustus, please feel free to post your coins of Magnus Maximus.

Image 1 - *AET* MAGNUS MAXIMUS AR Siliqua. EF/EF+. Treveri mint. VIRTVS ROMANORVM.

Obverse: D N MAG MAXIMVS P F AVG. Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right
Reverse: VIRTVS ROMANORVM. Roma seated facing on throne, looking left, holding Victory on globe and spear, left leg bare. Mintmark TRPS in exergue.

RIC IX Trier 84b 

Treveri mint 

383-388 AD

2.04 grams

16mm

 

Sources:

Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum Latinorum - Google Books

(99+) Maximus'Letters in the Collectio Avellana: A Comparative Study, | María Victoria Escribano Paño - Academia.edu

Battle of Save (388) Summary & Facts, Roman Empire (totallyhistory.com)

 

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Posted · Supporter

Beautiful coin.

The only MM I have is from when I was still collecting the emperor series and is not in great condition. 🙁 But I am happy with it.

normal_Magnus_Maximus_1.jpg.0b1209e920862f8f37c5e962511d6ea6.jpg

Magnus Maximus
Æ, Aquileia mint
Obv.: D N MAG MA[XIMVS P F AVG], Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
Rev.: [SPES] RO-MA-NOR[VM] / SMAQP, Campgate with two turrets; star above
Æ, 12mm, 0.9g
Ref.: RIC IX 55a

 

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Posted (edited)

I have two, both unusual.

Magnus Maximus Solidus, 383-388image.png.eab226c8d229199e2feba1a75cfc7268.pngAugusta/London. Gold, 21mm, 4.59g, 6h. Rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Magnus Maximus right, seen from front; D N MAG MA-XIMVS P F AVG. Magnus Maximus and Theodosius I seated facing on double throne, jointly holding globe between them; half-length figure of Victory above facing between, vertical palm branch under throne; VICTOR-IA AVGG; AVGOB in exergue (RIC IX, 2b; Biaggi 2312 (this coin)). Ex Leo Biaggi de Blasys. NGC #6057866-002. Struck at a time when Magnus Maximus was trying to gain recognition from Eastern emperor Theodosius I after usurping the Western throne from Gratian.

Edited by John Conduitt
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Magnus Maximus Barbarous AE2, 383-388image.png.789d104498ad587fb93aee6098945e31.pngSpain imitating Lugdunum. Bronze, 22mm, 4.39g. Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; D N MIG MA-MVS P F AVG. Emperor standing left, raising kneeling female; REPARATIO M AVGG (restoration of Maximus, instead of the usual REPARATIO REIPVB, restoration of the Republic) (cf RIC IX, 32). Struck in coastal Spain in the 380s because of a coin shortage. Possibly used during Visigothic rule in Barcino (Barcelona) around 415.

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Posted (edited)

The solidus is indeed exquisite, but completely out of my means, but the AE is very interesting. I think that it is actually not from the 380s but rather around 400 and it is one of the intermediary coinages from the official Magnus Maximus to the maiorinae of Maximus of Barcino (ca. 411 or so). When I first saw this one I thought it to be a Maximus of Barcino proper:

MAXIMUS.JPG.b8ef164fcfc9b577934fa1627f28a8f8.JPG

But now it seems more likely that it is one of the "local Spanish maiorinae" in the progression from the official coinage of Magnus Maximus to the coinage of Maximus of Barcino (and possibly beyond, until the Visigothic era) -- but probably later than your specimen, more schematic and with [VI]CT - O - [RI]A AVG[G?] and what is left of a mintmark starting in SM[...] (Maximus minted at Barcino with SMBA).

Up to about 4-5 years ago I gravitated towards attributing it to Maximus, so here is what I wrote about it in 2017, 2 years after attributing it to Maximus:

Mr. Pina from Tesorillo doubts that it's an actual issue of Maximus and considers it to be a peculiar case of "local Spanish immitation" - see here for his take on it. He also shows on his page the best version of Maximus Maiorina I have ever seen, almost full legends and exergue.

Without excluding or contesting Mr. Pina's thoughts, I surmise my reasons for considering this piece a Maximus Maiorina:

1. The specific diameter and weight characteristics (23mm, 5,01g) are consistent with those recorded by both Kent and Balaguer.

2. The bust appears to be both bearded and adorned by a relatively large and well-distinguished fibula (a feature one can often notice also on Maximus's siliquae).

3. The mintmark, on which - although worn out and partially off-flan - the upper hyphen of the S and the shadowy upper parts of the M from SMBA are still visible.

4. The fact that that although it has a negligent spelling, the obverse legend still presents features that are also evident in the carving of siliqua dies, like for instance the P that looks like a D, as seen on the siliqua presented as example in the original post. On the other hand, it is very true that the maiorina of Maximus of Barcino is extremely rare (maybe with a maximum of 5-6 known examples at best), while the local issues, although very scarce, very similar and also specific to that same area, are not of the same extreme rarity and as such, of the same obscurity.

All we know for now is that this segment of Spanish numismatic history is still a puzzle and without new material to study, we are left with a lot of questions, like for instance, have these also circulated during the Visigothic expansion into the Iberian peninsula?

Some (the one presented in the original post included) show signs of wear specific to longtime use. Were these AE2s minted even after the ousting of Maximus, as regular official Roman AEs were not enough to satisfy the local economy, such it had been the case after the official demonetization of Magnus Maximus AE2s starting with 395?

And to add another piece to this puzzle, here is another "local Spanish Maiorina" from an European collection:

AE18/19mm 2.72g irregular flan
OBV: [...] MAX[...]; draped, pearl-diademed bust r.
REV: [...] A AV[CC]; Emperor holding victory on globe crowning him, raising woman with his right arm.
EXE: ?

An interesting fact to be noted here is that between the back of the bust at 6 o'clock and the MAX lettering at 9 o'clock there is no room for the regular Magnus Maximus legend DN MAG. Also note the low weight and the irregular flan.

What does this mean? Does it even mean anything? Who knows?

pic.JPG.43f51d49f4474c93b56c4e143c35c1ad.JPG

Edited by seth77
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17 minutes ago, seth77 said:

The solidus is indeed exquisite, but completely out of my means, but the AE is very interesting. I think that it is actually not from the 380s but rather around 400 and it is one of the intermediary coinages from the official Magnus Maximus to the maiorinae of Maximus of Barcino (ca. 411 or so). When I first saw this one I thought it to be a Maximus of Barcino proper:

MAXIMUS.JPG.b8ef164fcfc9b577934fa1627f28a8f8.JPG

But now it seems more likely that it is one of the "local Spanish maiorinae" in the progression from the official coinage of Magnus Maximus to the coinage of Maximus of Barcino (and possibly beyond, until the Visigothic era) -- but probably later than your specimen, more schematic and with [VI]CT - O - [RI]A AVG[G?] and what is left of a mintmark starting in SM[...] (Maximus minted at Barcino with SMBA).

Up to about 4-5 years ago I gravitated towards attributing it to Maximus, so here is what I wrote about it in 2017, 2 years after attributing it to Maximus:

Mr. Pina from Tesorillo doubts that it's an actual issue of Maximus and considers it to be a peculiar case of "local Spanish immitation" - see here for his take on it. He also shows on his page the best version of Maximus Maiorina I have ever seen, almost full legends and exergue.

Without excluding or contesting Mr. Pina's thoughts, I surmise my reasons for considering this piece a Maximus Maiorina:

1. The specific diameter and weight characteristics (23mm, 5,01g) are consistent with those recorded by both Kent and Balaguer.

2. The bust appears to be both bearded and adorned by a relatively large and well-distinguished fibula (a feature one can often notice also on Maximus's siliquae).

3. The mintmark, on which - although worn out and partially off-flan - the upper hyphen of the S and the shadowy upper parts of the M from SMBA are still visible.

4. The fact that that although it has a negligent spelling, the obverse legend still presents features that are also evident in the carving of siliqua dies, like for instance the P that looks like a D, as seen on the siliqua presented as example in the original post. On the other hand, it is very true that the maiorina of Maximus of Barcino is extremely rare (maybe with a maximum of 5-6 known examples at best), while the local issues, although very scarce, very similar and also specific to that same area, are not of the same extreme rarity and as such, of the same obscurity.

All we know for now is that this segment of Spanish numismatic history is still a puzzle and without new material to study, we are left with a lot of questions, like for instance, have these also circulated during the Visigothic expansion into the Iberian peninsula?

Some (the one presented in the original post included) show signs of wear specific to longtime use. Where these AE2s minted even after the ousting of Maximus, as regular official Roman AEs were not enough to satisfy the local economy, such it had been the case after the official demonetization of Magnus Maximus AE2s starting with 395?

And to add another piece to this puzzle, here is another "local Spanish Maiorina" from an European collection:

AE18/19mm 2.72g irregular flan
OBV: [...] MAX[...]; draped, pearl-diademed bust r.
REV: [...] A AV[CC]; Emperor holding victory on globe crowning him, raising woman with his right arm.
EXE: ?

An interesting fact to be noted here is that between the back of the bust at 6 o'clock and the MAX lettering at 9 o'clock there is no room for the regular Magnus Maximus legend DN MAG. Also note the low weight and the irregular flan.

What does this mean? Does it even mean anything? Who knows?

pic.JPG.43f51d49f4474c93b56c4e143c35c1ad.JPG

Thank you very much for the history. Barbarous issues are usually an enigma, so this is pretty detailed! That last coin looks like they copied the copy...

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You've seen this before, but since:

3 hours ago, Magnus Maximus said:

I’ve been wanting to get some of the other rare mints that produced coinage of Maximus(Rome and Constantinople)

how can I not post it? 😄

image.jpeg.7a596b887ba3daced3a6facc7e1daf1e.jpeg

Still only 2 of these on acsearch, mine (2017) and a CNG example (2008).  I wonder how many months (or weeks?) Theo actually recognized the other Augustus. (The "Semper Augustus" - neat, hadn't heard that before!)

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3 minutes ago, Severus Alexander said:

You've seen this before, but since:

how can I not post it? 😄

image.jpeg.7a596b887ba3daced3a6facc7e1daf1e.jpeg

Still only 2 of these on acsearch, mine (2017) and a CNG example (2008).  I wonder how many months (or weeks?) Theo actually recognized the other Augustus. (The "Semper Augustus" - neat, hadn't heard that before!)

I will never not like that coin whenever I see it, a real gem.

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Posted (edited)

@seth77

It makes sense that the locals in Hispania would produce local issues of Magnus Maximus. Maximus was a Spaniard by birth, by all accounts ran a competent administration, coins of his were really the last good quality bronze coins to be issued en masse in the Western Roman Empire, and he was the last strong Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. After Maximus the Western Roman Empire would get a 21 year old who held no real power, an imperial bureaucrat with no power, an idiot who loved his chickens ect ect… 
Perhaps to the locals in the 410’s, the rule of Maximus 30 years earlier was considered the calm before the storm.

Edited by Magnus Maximus
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What I think happened here is that the citizens in the West, mainly Spain and Gaul, were interested in the module of the coinage rather than the ruler depicted, especially after 395, when the AE2 module was discontinued. The coinage of Magnus Maximus was the most plentiful with that module in the West so obviously was to be the most imitated by local communities. Many (like the first one I posted) were minted in Barcino proper, which is possibly how Maximus picked up the design and used it for his own maiorina type in 410. The continuation of the design (an probably the coincidental name didn't hurt either) made the AE2 coinage of Maximus of Barcino readily acceptable in Spain and Gaul and certainly better than any copper coinage that the central authority was minting at that time in the West.

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Posted (edited)

@seth77

That brings up another question that has been bugging me lately; What happened to the AE-2 size bronze coins? As far as I can tell, Maximus was the last Emperor to issue the denomination in the West. Furthermore, aside from the rare Cherson AE-2 issues that are only found in Ukraine, the “denomination” seems to have been dead by the time of Arcadius’s sole rule in the East. 
Was inflation so bad post the civil wars of 388 and 392, that the denomination was discontinued? 

Edited by Magnus Maximus
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Magnus Maximus said:

@seth77

That brings up another question that has been bugging me lately; What happened to the AE-2 size bronze coins? As far as I can tell, Maximus was the last Emperor to issue the denomination in the West. Furthermore, aside from the rare Cherson AE-2 issues that are only found in Ukraine, the “denomination” seems to have been dead by the time of Arcadius’s sole rule in the East. 
Was inflation so bad post the civil wars of 388 and 392, that the denomination was discontinued? 

Seems so! Although Magnus Maximus was an interesting figure, his grab for power was a huge domino in the final fall of the western empire. What's interesting to me is how fast after about 395/400 ad the coinage completely goes in the toilet. Even through Arcadius and Honorius, the coins were... meh but ok. They were still substantial and struck alright on ok flans. At the end of the 4th century, the empire seemed to be in free fall monetarily with the masses. 

Edited by Orange Julius
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Posted (edited)

I think at least Spain still got some of the AE2s minted in the last part of Theodosius I's reign for himself, Arcadius and starting with 393 Honorius. In 395 after the death of Theodosius the AE2 was discontinued in the East too, but the population in the West was used to the larger coinage which accounts for the imitations of ca. 400 that we discussed above. I think this is also what happened in Cherson with the larger denominations of Theo II, Val III, Leo, Verina, Zeno. At least the first of the series were practically imitations after the coinage of the mid 380s military emperor/galley. What I find interesting now that I have started my interest into 'provincial' coinage -- it appears to me that these late imitations played the part of 'provincial' coinage in a similar way. With the decrease of Imperial coinage and the reduced standard in the West (I think the VRBS ROMA FELIX was the last type to be barely an AE3), the 'local Spanish maiorinae' seem to have provided a better alternative, most importantly, something that the citizens were used to and readily accepted as currency -- which goes to hint to something apparent in most domains of life: function creates the means. In corollary, this is also how 'provincial' coinage disappeared in the 270s, not by edict but by economic sense.

Edited by seth77
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Orange Julius said:

Seems so! Although Magnus Maximus was an interesting figure, his grab for power was a huge domino in the final fall of the western empire. What's interesting to me is how fast after about 395/400 ad the coinage completely goes in the toilet. Even through Arcadius and Honorius, the coins were... meh but ok. They were still substantial and struck alright on ok flans. At the end of the 4th century, the empire seemed to be in free fall monetarily with the masses. 

Maximus reminds me of Cao Cao from the Three Kingdoms period, in that regard. Yes, I believe that the Siliqua denomination starts to decline in weight after Maximus's defeat in 388 as well. It would not be unreasonable to say the civil war of 388 and 392 between the east and west were a lot more damaging to the Roman state than they initially appear to be.

Edited by Magnus Maximus
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Posted (edited)

A very interesting thread. Here's my one Magnus Maximus:

Magnus Maximus [Emperor in West AD 383-388 by usurpation from Gratian], AR reduced Siliqua*, AD 383-388, Trier Mint. Obv. Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, DN MAG MAX-IMVS PF AVG [AV ligatured] / Rev. Helmeted Roma seated facing on throne, head left, holding globe in right hand and reversed spear in left hand, VIRTVS RO-MANORVM; in exergue, TR PS [TR = Trier Mint; PS = Pvsvlatvm (struck from refined, purified silver; see Sear RCV V, Introduction p. 7)]. 1.90 g., 16.32 x 16.08 mm., 12 h. RIC IX 84(b)(1) (p. 29), RSC V 20b (ill. p. 176), Sear RCV V 20644 (p. 422); Ghey 56f (this coin) [Ghey, E., “Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire,” unpublished catalogue held by British Museum]. Purchased 17 May 2022 from Noonans (f/k/a Dix Noonan Webb) Auction, “The Vale of Pewsey Hoard of Late Roman Silver Coins,” Lot 82; ex Vale of Pewsey Hoard, discovered in Wiltshire 12-13 Sep. 2020, Portable Antiquities Scheme Hoard ID BM-7D34D9 (see https://finds.org.uk/database/hoards/record/id/3305 ).**

image.png.f5c0e00a9fecd6367fe5e29060002206.png

*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.” 

**See Noonans Auction Catalogue, at  https://www.noonans.co.uk/media/auction_catalogues/Coins 17 May 22.pdf, p. 3:

 "Presented here for sale is a hoard of fourth and early fifth century Roman silver coins, recovered in September 2020 from farmland in the Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire, by a team of three avid metal detectorists. Over the course of two days Rob Abbott, Dave Allen and Mick Rae discovered a total of 160 silver coins and coin fragments, which were subsequently submitted to the relevant authorities for processing according to the Treasure Act 1997

(PAS BM–7D34D9, BM 2020 T702). 

No container has been recovered from the site and the coins’ dispersal over an area of around 30 metres across the field suggests that the original parcel was disrupted in recent times by agricultural activity. A few of the recovered coins were badly chipped, broken or fragmentary. Most of these breaks look fresh and it would seem that this unfortunate damage has resulted from regular ploughing of the field for agricultural purposes. 

We should be enormously grateful, therefore, that the hoard was recovered when it was before more coins succumbed to a similar fate. Numismatists and historians alike should appreciate the diligent efforts of these three finders in rescuing the Vale of Pewsey Hoard and ensuring that this important group was properly recorded for future study. 

Following assessment and appraisal the British Museum decided to acquire two Miliarensia from the group for the Nation’s collection. The remaining coins were disclaimed and returned to the original finders, who have now chosen to sell the hoard so that private scholars and numismatists may have the opportunity to acquire examples for their own collections. Only those pieces in fragmentary state have been retained by the finders, and all 142 complete, or near complete, coins are listed in this catalogue; eighteen Miliarensia and 124 Siliquae.

 Amongst them are numerous rare and beautifully preserved specimens which will appeal to specialist Roman collectors and general numismatists alike."

 The breakdown of the 142 lots is as follows (see id. p. 10):

CONSTANS (337–350) 1

CONSTANTIUS II (337–361) 2–7

JULIAN II (360–363) 8–11

VALENTINIAN I (364–375) 12–14

VALENS (364–378) 15–33

GRATIAN (367–383) 34–49

VALENTINIAN II (375–392) 50–59

THEODOSIUS I (379–395) 60–74

MAGNUS MAXIMUS (383–388) 75–92

FLAVIUS VICTOR (387–388) 93–95

ARCADIUS (383–408) 96–118

EUGENIUS (392–394) 119–133

HONORIUS (393–423) 134–142

 See also https://finds.org.uk/database/hoards/record/id/3305, noting that “Most of the coins have been only lightly clipped to remove silver from the edges of the coins, unlike many hoards with a deposition date into the fifth century AD. There are also few obviously irregular coins in the group. The total weight in silver of the late Roman coins submitted is 328.76g, remarkably close to a Roman pound in silver.”

 

Edited by DonnaML
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11 hours ago, seth77 said:

I think at least Spain still got some of the AE2s minted in the last part of Theodosius I's reign for himself, Arcadius and starting with 393 Honorius. In 395 after the death of Theodosius the AE2 was discontinued in the East too, but the population in the West was used to the larger coinage which accounts for the imitations of ca. 400 that we discussed above. I think this is also what happened in Cherson with the larger denominations of Theo II, Val III, Leo, Verina, Zeno. At least the first of the series were practically imitations after the coinage of the mid 380s military emperor/galley. What I find interesting now that I have started my interest into 'provincial' coinage -- it appears to me that these late imitations played the part of 'provincial' coinage in a similar way. With the decrease of Imperial coinage and the reduced standard in the West (I think the VRBS ROMA FELIX was the last type to be barely an AE3), the 'local Spanish maiorinae' seem to have provided a better alternative, most importantly, something that the citizens were used to and readily accepted as currency -- which goes to hint to something apparent in most domains of life: function creates the means. In corollary, this is also how 'provincial' coinage disappeared in the 270s, not by edict but by economic sense.

There's a section of the Codex Theodosianus mentioning the demonetization of the "maiorina pecunia."  Here's an interesting excerpt from Grierson's discussion in the Late Roman volume of the Dumbarton Oaks Catalog:

image.jpeg.ea13f8a28793091f21234b90cbfb4786.jpeg

He goes on to discuss weight standards.  These are the notes I took when I was working on the VRBS ROMA FELIX series:

383-95 (a bit lower for AE2 and higher for AE4 in the 387-92 range)
AE2 5.15g
AE3 2.58g
AE4 1.23g
395-408
AE3 2.27g early VRBS ROMA FELIX struck on this standard. (In 402 in the East [3 standing emperors type] this was reduced to 1.65g)
AE4 0.76g (becomes 1/3 value of AE3; 1/2 to lighter standing emperors eastern type)
408-91
AE3 1.6g (last ones being Theo II 2 emperors and Eudocia’s, 423)
AE4 1.15-1.20g

I like your hypothesis about the large Cherson issues, @seth77!  VRBS ROMA FELIX wasn't quite the last western AE3/centenionalis issue, though.  This rather scarce one, from after the sack of Rome in 410, was the last.  First minted in Aquileia while the Goths/Attalus had possession of Rome, it was later minted in Rome until around 413-415-ish:

image.jpeg.d8dabba001fd472d767e6ba63ae7a60a.jpeg

Mine is actually only 15mm (officially AE4) but it weighs a hefty 3.24g and they do exist above the 17mm cutoff for AE4.  Clearly the "centenionalis" I think.  Reverse: GLORIA ROMANORVM.

Following Grierson, these 2 emperor types were the last AE3/centenionalis in the East, minted until 423:

image.jpeg.0a7a3e62c4a90316aa08e3950a57b7b0.jpeg

Mine is 16.5mm, 2.05g.

 

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My only contribution will be this siliqua, but it says GLORIA ROMASORVM !!

405062f1851a4e06aeb03a0a418c021b.jpg

Magnus Maximus, Siliqua - Treveri mint, 2nd officina
D N MAG MAX IMVS P F AVG, draped, cuirassed and diademed bust right
VIRTVS RO MASORVM (sic !!) Roma seated facing, holding globe and spear.
TRPS at exergue
1.91 gr
Ref : Cohen # 20 var, Roman coins # 4201

 

Q

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Thank you for the reference and correction, Alex. When I wrote my previous post was just back from my weekly expedition with my eldest daughter and so I wasn't very thourough in my exposition. Thank you so much for doing the research work that I should've done.

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1 hour ago, Severus Alexander said:

There's a section of the Codex Theodosianus mentioning the demonetization of the "maiorina pecunia."  Here's an interesting excerpt from Grierson's discussion in the Late Roman volume of the Dumbarton Oaks Catalog:

image.jpeg.ea13f8a28793091f21234b90cbfb4786.jpeg

He goes on to discuss weight standards.  These are the notes I took when I was working on the VRBS ROMA FELIX series:

383-95 (a bit lower for AE2 and higher for AE4 in the 387-92 range)
AE2 5.15g
AE3 2.58g
AE4 1.23g
395-408
AE3 2.27g early VRBS ROMA FELIX struck on this standard. (In 402 in the East [3 standing emperors type] this was reduced to 1.65g)
AE4 0.76g (becomes 1/3 value of AE3; 1/2 to lighter standing emperors eastern type)
408-91
AE3 1.6g (last ones being Theo II 2 emperors and Eudocia’s, 423)
AE4 1.15-1.20g

I like your hypothesis about the large Cherson issues, @seth77!  VRBS ROMA FELIX wasn't quite the last western AE3/centenionalis issue, though.  This rather scarce one, from after the sack of Rome in 410, was the last.  First minted in Aquileia while the Goths/Attalus had possession of Rome, it was later minted in Rome until around 413-415-ish:

image.jpeg.d8dabba001fd472d767e6ba63ae7a60a.jpeg

Mine is actually only 15mm (officially AE4) but it weighs a hefty 3.24g and they do exist above the 17mm cutoff for AE4.  Clearly the "centenionalis" I think.  Reverse: GLORIA ROMANORVM.

Following Grierson, these 2 emperor types were the last AE3/centenionalis in the East, minted until 423:

image.jpeg.0a7a3e62c4a90316aa08e3950a57b7b0.jpeg

Mine is 16.5mm, 2.05g.

 

That is an excellent page you have posted there, @Severus Alexander.

Are there any leading theories as to why the AE-2 was demonetized and production stopped?

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Posted (edited)

For what it's worth, I think that the main reason is that the AE2 in 395 was undervalued compared to the AE3 and AE4. Which means that the markets wanted it and eventually the state was unwilling to give it anymore at face value. And the easiest way to stop giving it was to stop it altogether.

Edited by seth77
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Posted (edited)

@seth77

Possibly, however we also see the Siliqua being reduced in weight around this time as well. It should be noted that Trier stopped production of Siliqua in 395, when the mint was closed down.  So the Milan standard the author reference’s would become the de facto siliqua standard for the remainder of the denominations lifetime in the west.
 

F673C532-4232-45E7-B3E2-D783CAD86159.png

Edited by Magnus Maximus
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