A scarcer Constantinian Mars from Trier

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by maridvnvm, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I have an entirely ego-centric interest is the coins of Mars. I don't really focus on them but try and pick up slightly interesting ones when I can.

    Here I am looking at the issues of Constantine the Great from around A.D. 316. These coins have reverse marks of T - F // ATR or T - F // BTR.

    The standard MARTI CON-SERVATORI coins have Mars helmeted, in military dress, spread cloak, standing, right, looking right, holding reversed spear, left hand leaning on shield (RIC VII Trier 108 - RIC VII Trier 114 covering a variety of Obverse legends and Bust Types). I have owned a few over the years and take their scarcity ratings with a big pinch of salt but they are generally not easy to get hold of.

    RIC 111 (Rated R5)
    RIC 114 (Rated Scarce)

    There is another variation that is given a separate series of RIC numbers where Mars face left instead of right (RIC VII Trier 115 - RIC VII Trier 118). These are only known from officina B and are all rated as either R4 or R5 and are generally harder to find than the head right variation. I have owned one before and have added a new one (which is the point of this post!). Again these generally have the reverse legend break MARTI CON-SERVATORI.

    RIC 118 (Rated R4)
    RIC 117 is rated R4 with 3 examples cited from Vienna and a single example which has the reverse legend break of S-E rather than N-S. Now for my new coin......

    Constantine the Great, Ae Follis

    Obv:– IMP CONSTANTINVS AVG, Laureate cuirassed bust right
    Rev:–. MARTI CONS-ERVATORI. Mars helmeted, in military dress, spread cloak, standing, right, looking left, holding reversed spear, left hand leaning on shield
    Minted in Trier (T | F / BTR). A.D. 315-316
    Reference:– RIC VII Trier 115 var (Reverse legend break, N-S break is R5. This reverse legend break is known from a single example in Vienna for RIC 117)
    180 degree orientation

    There wan't enough metal in the blank to fill the head on Mars which directly corresponds to the same flat area in the middle of the cuirass on the obverse.


    I knw that this is a combination of minutiae that have made this stand out for me but it's sometimes these little details that are important in attribution.

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  3. Caesar_Augustus

    Caesar_Augustus Well-Known Member

    Very nice! I have Constantine Mars issues from Rome and now Trier. Here's the one from Trier

    Constantine the Great
    AE Follis
    313 - 315 A.D., Treveri Mint, 1st Officina
    4.83g, 22.0mm, 6H

    Bust of Constantine I, laureate, cuirassed, right

    Mars, helmeted, draped, cuirassed, cloak spread, standing right, holding reversed vertical spear in right hand and resting left hand on shield

    Exergue: T/F//PTR

    Provenance: Ex. Ancient & Medieval Coins Canada Auction 2, Lot 239, Ex. TheRed Collection

    Reference: RIC VII Treveri 53
  4. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    Here's the half follis version from Trier for Constantine with the shortened reverse of MARTI CONSERV.

    Constantinus MARTI CONSERV.jpg
  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    Fascinating series of coins. I am not sure if I have ever seen the MARTI CONSERVATORI type.
  6. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Another Half Folis:-


    The Bust of Mars type


    Some more of the folles

  7. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    That's a fascinating series. I don't thing I've ever seen the bust of Mars type before, and I wasn't aware that there is so much variety for this reverse type. Thanks for showing!

    I only have one Constantine with a Mars reverse. On this coin, Mars has got the physiognomy of a young Hulk Hogan, and for some reason he also decided to do minimal dressing (aka "helmet only"):
    Rom – Konstantin der Große, AE1, Mars, Trier (neu).png
    Constantine I, Roman Empire, AE1 ("follis"), 309 AD, Trier mint. Obv: IMP CONSTANTINVS PF AVG; bust of Constantine I, laureate, cuirassed, r. Rev: MARTI PATRI CONSERVATORI; Mars, nude, helmeted, standing r., leaning on reversed spear with r. hand and placing l. hand on shield; in fields, T-F; in exergue, PTR. 27mm, 5.94g.
  8. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    And then there is the MARTI PATRI PROPVGNATORI type

  9. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Actually, Mars is usually shown nude. It is often difficult to tell if a coin is depicting Mars or Virtus, and as a general rule, the figure is considered Virtus if it is wearing military dress and Mars if it is nude. Mars' military dress on the OP is unusual.

    And in the interest of completeness, here's a Mars similar to maridvnvm's coin just above but with a shortened legend:
    London mint, A.D. 307-310
    RIC 108
    Rev: MARTI PAT-RI PROPVG - Mars, holding transverse spear and shield
    PLN in exergue
    24 mm, 7.4 g.
  10. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I am not sure that I agree that it is considered Virtus if dressed. Virtus is female and you can identify a dreesed Virtus from a dressed Mars by the fact that Virtus will expose her right breast.


  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    I thought I'd share this Gordian...in this example he is not nude...

  12. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Since I happen to have the picture in front of me. Here is a Tetricus I with the rare MARS VICTOR reverse from my collection. Not a particularly pretty coin, but again, the Mars-reverse is quite rare for Tetricus I

    Screenshot 2019-12-08 at 17.08.31.png
  13. Alegandron

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

    Nice collecting focus!!! I like that.

    Lol, I SAW what you did there... :)
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