A Dalmatius with a remarkably Constantinian bust

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by seth77, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    This is, I think, an interesting coin and a rather scarce one:

    Dalmatius as Caesar (335-337)
    AE3/4 17mm 2.76g, reduced follis/nummus, minted at Antioch, in the autumn of 335.
    FL DELMA - TIVS NOB C; laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right.
    GLOR - IA EXERC - ITVS; Soldiers with two standards between them.
    SMANI in exergue
    RIC VII Antioch 90, R3

    And now for the interesting part -- the bust looks exactly like the common eastern depiction of Constantine I -- which points to two possibilities (and/or): 1. the die cutters had no image of Dalmatius to use as a model to work for the coinage in his name, 2. the effigy was used in a Tetrarchic way, to suggest the imperial institution rather than individualize this particular member. And by 330 this was the face of the imperial institution: an idealized standardization of the image of Constantine the Great. Of course, Dalmatius was raised in the West and even after his elevation as Caesar, his domain was mainly the Balkans with the headquarters in Thessalonica. He was far removed from Antioch and his closest link to the Eastern Levant area was his all-powerful uncle and his image.

    Another aspect that makes this coin worthwhile is that it is of the type with two standards, which is rare for Dalmatius, as he was elevated in autumn 335, not long before the base metal coinage shrunk to a smaller standard that only accommodates one legionary standard between the military figures.

    So this was a brief issue of remarkable quality, using Constantine's effigy for a junior ruling partner.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
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  3. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    That portrait does resemble an idealized image of Constantine !, including his hooked nose :D.
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  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting observations, @seth77, and a very handsome coin!
    My most photogenic Delmatius is of the more common single standard type, more than a gram and a quarter lower in weight than yours:

    Delmatius, as Caesar, AD 335-337.
    Roman billon reduced centenionalis, 1.47g, 16.4 mm, 1 h.
    Siscia, AD 336-337.
    Obv: FL DELMATIVS NOB C, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev: GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers standing facing each other, each resting on on spear and shield, one standard between them; BSIS in exergue.
    Refs: RIC vii, p. 458, 256; LRBC 758; Cohen 4; RCV 16894.
  5. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    I think that all Delmatius coinage looks Constantinian.
    +VGO.DVCKS and Roman Collector like this.
  6. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    That is a special coin. I do not have a two standard Delmatius or an Antioch mint one. Below is a more standard portrait but I can not find it in RIC. The mintmark seems clearly CONSΓ (shop three of Constantinople) but the only Delmatius recorded is shop ten (I). The example online
    has a O on the standard rather than a chi-rho. Does RIC not bother with the symbols on the flag like they would if it were in the field? It mentions the chi-rho in the Arles listing but that mint placed officina letters P or S before the city name and this one has space there and the gamma clear at the end. Is this coin the correct style for the listed mint? Help with this coin would be appreciated.
  7. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    The circular object on the standard (note 3 on shaft of standard and one on banner of the example you linked to) are Phalera, which are sculpted discs which were awarded for various military exploits.

    I think your coin is Arles, the style is right. It looks like the workshop is faint or missing and the T is poorly struck.
  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE

    @seth77 , you always have the cool hard-to-get coins. Great job, and thanks for the great info! I always enjoy your posts.

    Here are a a couple of my humble examples...

    RI Dalmatius 335-337 CE Quarter Folles CHI RHO banner flanked by 2 soldiers Sear 3131

    RI Dalmatius 335-337 CE Quarter Folles CHI RHO banner flanked by 2 soldiers
  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    A very interesting and attractive coin, @seth77.

    My only Delmatius, from Antioch, is also a low-weight one-standard type:

    Delmatius Caesar (nephew of Constantine I), Billon reduced Centenionalis, Antioch Mint (10th Officina), 335-337 AD. Obv. Laureate and cuirassed bust right, FL DELMA-TIVS NOB C / Rev. Two helmeted soldiers, standing facing one another, reversed spears in outer hands, inner hands on shields resting on ground, one standard between them, GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS; in exergue, SMANI [Antioch, 10th Officina]. RIC VII Antioch 112, p. 697; Sear RCV IV 16901; Cohen 4. 15x16 mm., 1.7 g.

    Delmatius jpg version.jpg
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  10. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for adding your specimens. I also think that @dougsmit 's spec is from Arles and I think you can see a ghost of the first S in the exergue, despite being mostly off flan.

    To exemplify what I meant about the specifically and remarkably Constantinian bust, here are some examples from the coinage of 330-333 and 335:

    Constantine I:


    Constantine II:


    Constantius II:


    and Constans:


    What we can notice is that, although there is clearly a common style and some familiarity in the busts of Constantine and his sons, there is also variability that makes the sons different from their father. Their busts are more youthful and smaller. But when it comes to Dalmatius in the OP, there is virtually no fizionomical difference between his effigy and the median Constantine I effigy from the period, apart from the obvious head gear that separates between Augustus and Caesar. Also, despite being as young as 15 when he was elevated by Constantine, Dalmatius is rendered with a larger and more Constantinian bust than his sons, despite being younger than both Constantine and Constantius. The obverse legend is also broken in a similar manner to Constantine's (which leaves the die cutter more room for a larger bust) while his sons all have the unbroken obverse legends. Additionally, the bust of Constantine is not "teleported" onto this issue for Dalmatius -- the head gear is clearly different showing the distinction in status between the two figures. If a die cutter would have shown Dalmatius with the ornate diadem of Constantine, he would have probably been in some trouble. What the die cutter did was to give Constantine's effigy an earlier laurel head gear and present it as Dalmatius, the new European Caesar.
  11. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    The most significant difference I see between the Delmatius and Constantine busts shown in this thread is that Constantine has a much more prominent chin.
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  12. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Yeah, more jowly, like his dad.
  13. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Interesting coins of Delmatius in thread.
    Delmatius with two standards from Constantinople and Siscia
    and with one standard from Cyzicus
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    That too!
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  15. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    Style-wise, I always liked this one standard DAlmatius from Thessalonika. Is it later or is there another explanation for the A?
  16. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    It is not from Constantinople, rather Arles under the temporary name Constantina in honor of Constantine II, which it took in 328. RIC VII Arles 398, page 276 (and page 232 for the mint name). It does note the chi-rho on the flag.
  17. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    When I bought that coin, I logged it as Arles but the gamma shaped T and phantom S led me astray now that my mind is shot. Sorry to have wasted you time.
  18. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    336-337 he was called Dalmatius and Delmatius on his coinage, and not just the petty reduced "follis" but his siliquae also. Seems like they couldn't make up their minds how to spell his name.
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  19. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I only have this one rough example I found in a batch of uncleaned/low grade coins. Over 2000 coins from that seller later, it’s the single Daelmatius I’ve found

  20. james fitch

    james fitch New Member

    I want to thank every one of you. I realize I've taken my collection for granted and all coins i've had through my shop. I see now the benefit of stepping out from the shadows and joining a conversation on coins I enjoy and I have to say you've inspired me to appreciate what i've collected and why I have to go dig deeper and classify the simplest of questions and answer all asked Q'S CONCERNING A SPECIM. REALLY great seeing the interaction of like minded people stand each other up on valued info and helping hands to open wide a world each individual coin will take you when you let go and follow it's voice. If that makes sense. Thanks again. Enjoyed.!
  21. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I love this community.
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