Constantine's fractional issues of 313

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Victor_Clark, Feb 29, 2024.

  1. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    I just upgraded a coin in my collection from this


    to this example


    Constantine I
    Half follis 16mm 1.5g
    A.D. 313
    IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG; bare head right.
    FVNDAT PACIS [founder of peace]; Mars advancing right with trophy over left shoulder, dragging captive.
    RIC VII Rome 12

    This coin is part of a series of fractional coins issued for Constantine and Licinius from Rome and Trier.

    These small coins were probably distributed to the citizens as part of the Imperial largesse. A few things may have possibly been referenced by these coins, but they obviously commemorated peace in the Empire. This time of peace was the culmination of many events—Constantine defeated Maxentius, Licinius defeated Maximinus, Constantine’s sister married Licinius and cemented peace between the two rulers, and in A.D. 313, Constantine and Licinius signed the Edict of Milan.

    here are the other coins in the set


    Constantine I
    A.D. 313
    17mm 1.6g half follis
    IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG; bare head right.
    GLORIA PERPET; Two victories advancing right, both holding wreath and palm frond, standard between them
    In ex. R[…]
    RIC VII Rome 14


    Constantine I
    A.D. 313
    14mm 1.1gm
    quarter follis
    IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG; bare head right.
    SAPIENTIA PRINCIPIS [Wisdom of the Prince] Altar with owl, spear across altar, shield to left and helmet to right.
    in ex. RS
    RIC VII Rome 16

    The FVNDAT and GLORIA coins are half-folles and the SAPIENT is a quarter-follis. This quarter follis is the smallest coin that Constantine issued. The owl on the SAPIENT coin had long been a symbol of wisdom through association with Minerva; but the owl was also a symbol of good luck. According to Zosimus, before Constantine fought Maxentius, “an infinite number of owls flew down and covered the wall.” Of course, the owls were bad luck for Maxentius!

    These coins are quite unusual in their small size and reverse messages. FVNDAT PACIS translates as the founder of peace, GLORIA PERPET means peprpetual glory, and SAPIENT PRINCIPIS is wisdom of the Prince.

    “Limited series of fractional bronzes have a more personal tone, recalling, for example, the honorary epithets conferred upon the emperor.” RIC VII

    piissimo ac fortissimo fundatori pacis et restitutori publicae libertatis
    "to the most pious and strongest founder of peace and restorer of public liberty"

    The edict of Milan talks about "public welfare and security" and the above inscription (Corpus inscriptionum latinarum VI pg 1145) says that Constantine was the founder of peace and restorer of public liberty. So the FVNDAT coinage tied in nicely with the concept of peace for the public. Mars was the god of war, but he was also the peacemaker, because ironically, war does bring peace... eventually. There is also only one way to have peace... Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum -- "Therefore, whoever wishes for peace, let him prepare for war." (Vegetius in De Re Militari) In fact Mars was often depicted holding a symbol of peace-- the olive branch. So, as Mars and peace are two sides of the same coin, this coin with Mars on the reverse may have been, for the Romans, an easily recognizable and understood symbol for peace-- but a peace with an always implied promise for violence.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    So they're pretty rare? I admit, in all my 20+ years of collecting ancients, I don't recall seeing these reverse types/denominations. I'm a scatter collector, so I don't focus just on LRB and so on, not do I play in the big auction houses, so I don't look much.
    philologus_1 and Inspector43 like this.
  4. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    They are fairly rare, with the FVNDAT being the most common and GLORIA the rarest of the three.
  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Are you keeping the old FVNDAT than?, because it does have a better centered reverse.
  6. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    no, I expect that I will sell it eventually.
  7. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    I just upgraded my GLORIA PERPET example.

  8. The Meat man

    The Meat man Well-Known Member

    A very nice specimen!
  9. Factor

    Factor Well-Known Member

    Many years since I opened this coin album, nowadays I specialize in provincials. Obviously not as nice as Victor's, but they were good enough for me to mark off the type.
    Also another interesting small bronze from 313:
    PXL_20240309_015816017.jpg PXL_20240309_015835576.jpg
    Johndakerftw and Bing like this.
  10. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    This is part of a two coin set that have value marks on the reverse-- XII for a half follis and XVI for 2/3 follis


    Constantine I
    AD 312-13
    half follis 17mm 2.5gm
    FL VAL CONSTANTINVS AVG laureate and cuirassed bust right.
    PACI PERPET; Pax stg. facing, head l., r. holding branch, l. standard; in left field XII.
    in ex. RP
    RIC VI Rome 356


    Constantine I
    A.D. 312- 313
    2/3 follis 19x20mm 3.3g
    FL VAL CONSTANTINVS AVG; radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right seen from the rear.
    VIRT EXE-RCIT GALL; Virtus standing left, looking right, right leaning on spear, left holding parazonium;
    In left field X, in right field VI.
    In exergue RT
    RIC VI Rome 360

    The last coin commemorates the "Virtue of the Gallic Army"
  11. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Well-Known Member

    Fantastic, now I have a reason to closely examine every small Constantine coin I come across. @Victor_Clark seems intent on my coin life further taking over my real life.
    Victor_Clark likes this.
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