(the Great), Roman Emperor 309-337 A.D.
Constantine the Great is known as the father of the Constantinian Dynasty and as the first emperor to convert to Christianity. Constantine had
a part in issuing the Edict of Milan which proclaimed religious tolerance for
all religions across the empire. Constantine was a very successful general
starting with his defeat of two other emperors, Maxentius and Licinius, during
civil wars. He then led successful campaigns against the Franks, Alamanni,
Visigoths, and Sarmatians during his reign. He built a new imperial
residence in the ancient city of Byzantium, renaming it Constantinople.
This city would later be the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for over
1000 years. As a result, Constantine was also known as the founder of the
Eastern Roman Empire. Little is really known about Constantine's
conversion to Christianity. It was his sons who used Christian
iconography on some of their coins. There are two well-known stories
about his vision of the cross in the sky before a big battle (starting the
tradition of the use of the chi-rho symbol in military, state and religious
events) and his deathbed baptism.
These Follis coins are also known as a "Valor of the Army" coins. Virtus means
courage, manliness, power, worth, and excellence of character - all the manly
and soldierly virtues. This personification of VIRTUS may have actually meant, in ancient Roman times, "Act like a man". On these coins we see a trophy at the foot of which are two captives. On the standard is VOT / XX translated as "By virtue of the (Roman) army's courage, I make my vow to you for twenty years".
This coin, rated Very RARE in the Helvetica catalogue, was minted in the ancient city of Siscia, which was the chief town and colony of the province of Pannonia in
what is now called Sisak, Croatia. It was struck in one of many
officinae or workshops in the city. Officinae were designated by a different letter of the Greek or Roman alphabets (in the case of this coin by the letters F, S, and delta),
or by certain recognizable symbols such as palm branches, dots, stars, and
CONSTANTINE I AE Follis (19 mm, 2.51 g) This coin retains most of its silvering. The Emperor's portrait is pretty good except for a spot of corrosion at his chin. The pictures do not do justice to this hard-to-find coin.
OBV: CONSTANTINVS AVG, helmeted, cuirassed bust right
REV: VIRTVS EXERCIT, two captives seated either side of banner inscribed VOT / XX; S in left field; F in right
EXE: delta SIS star Siscia mint RIC 109 320 A.D. rated RARE 4
As usual, the pictures really don't do justice. Let me know if you have questions.
Absolute Guarantee of Authenticity
I have collected Roman coins for many years and have always bought coins from trusted, reputable dealers. The coins I sell are ancient currency minted under the authority of the Roman Empire. The details I describe (emperor, location, legends, etc) are derived from well-known and certified attribution sources. The descriptions are guaranteed accurate as much as the condition of the coin allows. This Guarantee of Authenticity does not make any claim or estimate of the value or grades of the coin(s).
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