Bull Neck Bronzes

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Dobbin, Jul 7, 2020.

  1. Dobbin

    Dobbin Member

    My current avatar is the reverse of this coin, does anyone know when the when the bull neck style come into vogue for the Romans? Did other cultures have a phase or style like this as well that appear on coinage?

    I don't have great pictures as it's not really a great coin, but big poppa Constantine I and Jupiter combined is cool.

    IMG_0281.JPG IMG_0282.JPG

    Head of Constantine I, laureate, right

    Jupiter, chlamys draped over left shoulder, standing front, head left, holding globe in right hand and leaning on sceptre with left hand


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  3. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    George III tended to look like that, perhaps on purpose...

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  4. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    The thick-necked bust types with short cropped hair started during the Tetrarchic period. It was meant to to make the rulers more homogeneous, to de-emphasize individuality and stress the cooperation of the Tetrarchy and perhaps emphasize military standards to reflect the rulers as military men. You can see the change on the coinage. First a Diocletian from struck A.D. 285 from Rome

    15 years later and the portrait style is completely different

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  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    It appears that it was less than 10 years later when the bull neck was introduced; these Diocletian obverses (one on an antoninianus and the other on a follis) are dated at 293-294 and 294-295, respectively:

    Diocletian Ant Obv 1.jpg

    Diocletian silvered follis, Nicomedia mint, obverse.jpg

    I imagine that someone must have pinpointed the first coin to adopt this style.
  6. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    Sorry if I confused...I was not suggesting that the first time the portrait was used was 15 years later...as I said 15 years later, not it finally changed in 15 years. I went to my Diocletian page and picked two coins to show the change. I had two coins from Rome showing 15 years difference, that's all. I will try to be more precise in the future.
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  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    There was a wholesale move on the coinage and also how the tetrarchs were portrayed on statuary. Art history suggests that this was a sea change. One theory is that this was to make the rulers more remote, almost deified figures. When one came into the court of Diocletian it was expected for the visitor to perform proskynesis, the act of prostrating oneself before the emperor as had been the case in Persia. This statue which once was in Constantinople before being transported to Italy during the 4th Crusade portrays this.

  8. Dobbin

    Dobbin Member

    These coins have led me to read and learn more about Roman history since taking a History of Western Civilization course as a college freshman more than 20 years ago.
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  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    That's great and one of the exciting aspects of collecting ancient coins. They provide historical clues which in some cases are either lost or underrepresented in the historical record. We can witness the wishes of the state to present an image to the people of stability and strength, piety, and other hopes. Not always terribly different from today.

    The example of FEL TEMP REPARATIO coin reverse types from the mid-fourth century "The Return of the Happy Times" is one case for instance. And we can see wishful thinking in other coin issues such as PAX AETERNA on the coins of Gallienus (when everything was falling apart) or ORIENS AVG on the types of Valerian when in fact he lost out to the Persians and was captured.

    In some cases we have rulers who are only known through coins they issued, who have completely vanished from the tableaux of history.
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