Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    September 2nd 465 AD. Constantinople

    The night is already very late. The old lady wanders erratically through piles of what she calls her memories. Has she abused the good wine that was served at the evening meal? Maybe. But one thing is certain, when she stumbles over one of her countless unnecessary items and drops her precious candles straight into a pile of dusty blankets, her old house is immediately lit like it never has been before. Almost instantaneously the neighboring house takes part in this great conflagration and one after the other the streets of the beautiful city light up with a macabre glow ...

    Over the next six days, the fire destroyed the buildings in eight of the 14 sections into which the Eastern Roman Imperial capital had been divided. Superstitious people believed that a malignant demon had assumed the shape of the old woman. The Acropolis was damaged, the temple of Apollo burned, the Senate house of the forum of Constantine destroyed and many magnificent private residences were burned down. The Emperor, alarmed by the disaster, withdrew across the Golden Horn to the Palace of St.Mamas and remained there for six month.

    For all fans of Roman history, Constantinople played an important role in the Empire annals. Let's talk a bit about this city and its mint.

    The city

    Built in the seventh century BC, the ancient city of Byzantium has proven to be a precious city for the Greeks and Romans. Because he was on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait, Emperor Constantine understood its strategic importance, and when the empire reunified in 324 AD built his new capital there - Constantinople. Constantine was unsure where to locate his new capital. Old Rome was never considered. He understood the infrastructure of the city was declining; its economy was falling off and the only source of income was becoming scarce. Nicomedia had everything he could want for a capital --a palace, a basilica and even a circus-- but it had been the capital of his predecessors, and he wanted something new. Although he had been tempted to build his capital on the site of ancient Troy, Constantine decided it was best to locate his new city at the site of old Byzantium, claiming it to be a New Rome. Although he kept some remnants of the old city, New Rome was four times the size of Byzantium and built on seven hills (just like Old Rome), the city was also divided into fourteen districts (again like Rome); it was renamed, and dedicated on 11 May 330 AD.

    The Walls built by Theodosius

    Supposedly laid out by Constantine himself, there were wide avenues lined with statues of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Augustus, Diocletian, and of course, Constantine dressed in the garb of Apollo with a scepter in one hand and a globe in the other. The city needed a reliable water supply. There were sufficient aqueducs, tunnels and conduits to bring water into the city but a lack of storage still existed. To solve the problem the Binbirderek Cistern (it still exists) was constructed in 330 AD. Constantinople would become the economic and cultural hub of the east and the center of both Greek classics and Christian ideals. Its importance would take on new meaning with Alaric's invasion of Rome in 410 AD and the eventual fall of the city to Odoacer in 476.

    The Valens' aqueduct

    The mint

    In 326 AD the imperial mint started its production. It has been said that the staff and the equipment of the new workshop were imported from Italy, from Ticinum specifically, whose mint would disappear to give rise to that of Constantinople. The excellent quality of the first Constantinople issues is due definitely to having inherited the knowledge of one of the most virtuous workshops among those established as a result of Diocletian's monetary reform. The production of the Constantinople mint was always very high and coins were struck in gold, silver and bronze. At the beginning, the mint opened with only two officinae, but after the execution of Crispus and Fausta, a third was added. At the New Year, 327 AD, the number of officinae in use was seven.

    Finally, when the GLORIA EXERCITUS coinage began, soon after the Dedication of the city in May 330 A.D., a total of eleven officinae was employed. The eleven officinae for bronze continued for the period 346-360 A.D., when these were reduced to four under Julian the Apostate and Jovian. In the first issue for Valentinian and Valens this was increased to five and in the second issue to seven. For the rest of the century the number fluctuated between seven and four, but from the early fifth century onwards the officinae did not normally sign their products. In the case of some issues between 383 and 392 the officinae were differentiated for the various rulers. The mint will continue emitting coins throughout the long byzantine period, remaining quite high the coinage volume and its variety.

    Now it's time to show off. Please present us your favorite examples of Constantinople's coins in your collection !

    Constantine The Great
    Constantius II
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  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Nice writeup! Definitely a historically important city :).

    Here's a coin from early-ish in the mint's production.

    Commemorative Series under Constantine I
    330 CE; Æ 14.5 mm, 1.16 gm
    Constantinople mint, 1st officina
    Obv: POP ROMANVS; draped bust of Genius left, with cornucopia over shoulder
    Rev: Milvian Bridge over Tiber River (traditional attribution; may not be the Milvian bridge); CONS//A
    Ref: RIC VIII 21; LRBC 1066; Vagi 3043
    ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli collection
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Entertaining and informative write-up, @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix ! Of course, we need a CONSTANTINOPOLIS commemorative or two in this thread.

    Constantine I, AD 307-337.
    Roman billon reduced centenionalis, 2.51 g, 17.1 mm, 6 h.
    Trier, AD 330-331.
    Obv: CONSTANTINOPOLIS, laureate, helmeted and mantled bust, left, holding scepter over shoulder.
    Rev: Victory standing left on prow, holding scepter and shield; TRP• in exergue.
    Refs: RIC vii, p. 215, 530; LRBC I 59; RCV 16444; Cohen 21.

    Hat tip to @Valentinian for this interesting bit of info about the following coin: The CONSTANTINOPOLIS type comes spelled without the terminal "S" at four mints (Constantinople, Cyzicus, Heraclea, Nicomedia) located around the Propontus (Sea of Marmora, near Constantinople).

    According to John Kent (author of RIC, vol. VIII) this "reflects the fall of the terminal -s in the spoken language and provides an interesting hint as to how instructions reached the engravers." I presume he means that he thinks those four mints received instructions from the same source, there was a oral stage in the transmission, and it was a regionally accepted pronunciation. The missing "S" sound reminds me of modern French pronunciation.

    Constantinopolis Commemorative Cyzicus.jpg Constantine I, AD 307-337.
    Roman billon reduced centenionalis, 2.89 g, 19.5 mm, 12 h.
    Cyzicus, AD 331, 333-334.
    Obv: CONSTANTINOPOLI, pearl-diademed, helmeted and mantled bust, left, holding spear.
    Rev: Victory standing left on prow, holding scepter and shield; SMKB in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 93; LRBC I 1234; RCV 16477; Cohen 21.
    randygeki, Ryro, Theodosius and 17 others like this.
  5. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    It's not easy to post after @TIF 's exceptional coin – that's a type every collector would like to have.

    Yet, here are some of my more modest Constantinople coins:

    Likely commemorating Constantine's victory over Licinius:
    Rom – Konstantin der Große, AE3, Dafne.png
    Constantine I, Roman Empire, AE 3, 328–329 AD, Constantinople mint. Obv: CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, bust of Constantine I, diademed, draped and cuirassed, r. Rev: CONSTANTINIANA DAFNE; Victory seated left on cippus, head r., holding palm in each hand; before her, trophy; at foot of trophy, kneeling captive; in field l., A; in exergue, CONS. 18mm, 2.75g. Ref: RIC VII Constantinople 35. Ex AMCC 1, lot 455; ex FSR.

    City commemorative with a personification of Constantinople:
    Rom – Konstantin der Große, Stadtprägung, Konstantinopel, Kyzikos.jpg
    City Commemorative under Constantine I, Roman Empire, AE 3, 331–334 AD, Cyzicus mint. Obv: CONSTANTINOPOLI; bust of Constantinopolis, laureate, helmeted, wearing imperial cloak, l. holding spear in r. hand. Rev: Victory, winged, draped, standing l. on prow, holding long sceptre in r. hand and resting l. hand on shield; in exergue, SMKE. 18mm, 2.49. Ref: RIC VII Cyzicus 92. Ex Forvm Ancient Coins; ex @TheRed collection; ex AMCC 2, lot 256 (their picture).

    Standing soldiers from the Constantinople mint:
    Rom – Constantius II, AE3, Gloria exercitus, Konstantinopel.png
    Constantius II, Roman Empire, AE3, 330–333 AD, Constantinople mint. Obv: FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C; bust of Constantius II, laureate, draped, cuirassed, r. Rev: GLORIA EXERCITUS; Two soldiers, helmeted, draped, cuirassed, standing facing each other, each holding reversed spear in outer hand and resting inner hand on shield; between them, two standards; in exergue, CONSS. 18mm, 2.30g. RIC VII Constantinople 61.

    Fallen horseman from the Constantinople mint:
    Rom – Constantius Gallus, AE2, Reitersturz, Konstantinopel.png
    Constantius Gallus, Roman Empire, AE2, 351–355 AD, Constantinople mint. Obv: DN FL CL CONSTANTIVS NOB CAE; bust of Constantius Gallus, bare-headed, draped, cuirassed, r. Ref: FEL TEMP REPARATIO; Roman soldier l. spearing fallen horseman; in in fields, Γ•; in exergue, CONSB. 24mm, 4.20g. Ref: RIC VIII Constantinople 107.

    Theodosius II with a personification of Constantinople on the reverse:
    Rom – Theodosius II, AE4, Frontalporträt, Concordia, Antiochia.png
    Theodosius II, Roman Empire, AE3/4, 401–403 AD, Antioch mint. Obv: D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG; ust of Theodosius II, helmeted, pearl-diademed, cuirassed, facing front, holding spear in r. hand behind head and shield decorated with cross on l. arm. Rev: CONCORDIA AVGG; Constantinopolis, helmeted, draped, enthroned, enthroned, facing front, head r., holding long sceptre in r. hand and Victory on globe in l. hand; beneath her r. foot, prow; in exergue, ANT(Γ?). Ref: RIC X Arcadius 100.
  6. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . . Supporter

    For the education . . . AND the coins . . . .

  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    The parsimonious accountant-minded Anastasius, who left the treasury 23 million solidi in its coffers upon his death.

    Anastasius, 491-518 A.D.

    Type: Large AE Follis, 39 mm 19 grams

    Obverse: DN ANASTASIVS PP AVG, Diademed draped and Cuirassed bust right, star on right shoulder (rare)

    Reverse: Large M, Epsilon below. Cross above M, star in left field, Mintmark CON


  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    The parsimonious accountant-minded Anastasius, who left the treasury 23 million solidi in its coffers upon his death.

    Anastasius, 491-518 A.D.

    Type: Large AE Follis, 39 mm 19 grams

    Obverse: DN ANASTASIVS PP AVG, Diademed draped and Cuirassed bust right, star on right shoulder (rare)

    Reverse: Large M, Epsilon below. Cross above M, star in left field, Mintmark CON

    View attachment 1168892

    View attachment 1168893
  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Triple post? Can't delete the last one (please delete the duplicate mods, if possible)
  10. David@PCC

    David@PCC allcoinage.com

    Constantinople is the mint I have the most of after Antioch, such a long history.
    John VIII Palaeologus
    Constantinople mint
    AR Stavraton, 23x24mm, 7.08g
    Obvs: Facing bust of Christ Pantokrator; barred IC XC across field; sigla: blank | Λ. 12 pellets in outer border.
    Revs: +IωAHCΔϵCΠOTHCO +XAPITHBACIΛϵVCTOиPOMϵO in two lines around crowned facing bust of John; sigla: pellet | pellet
    DOC 1663-4; Bendall 348.14, sigla 12; SB 2564

    John II Comnenus
    Billon Aspron Trachy
    1122 to 1137 AD
    Obvs: IC XC, Facing bust of Christ Pantocrator
    Revs: Crowned facing bust of John, holding cruciform scepter and globus cruciger; six jewels on collar
    29x30mm, 3.61g
    Constantinople mint
    SB 1944

    615 to 638 AD
    AR Hexagram
    Obvs: dd N hRACLIчS hЄRA CONSt, Heraclius and Constantine seated on double throne. Cross between them.
    Revs: ςЄчS AδIчtA ROmANIS, Cross potent on globe above three steps. K to right.
    19x23mm, 6.49g
    Ref: DO 64, Sear 798
  11. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter


    PROCOPIUS (Sept. 365 - May 366), AE
    CONSA. Constantinople
    3.32 g - 19 mm
    S 4124 - C 9 - RIC IX 17a
    DN PROCOPIVS PF AVG, diademed bust left
    REPARATIO FEL TEMP, Procopius std. facing; Christogram in upper right field
  12. Only a Poor Old Man

    Only a Poor Old Man Well-Known Member

  13. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    My visit to the city is one of my best travel memories. An incredible place, and your writeup really brought it back. Thanks! :)

    You mention that the GLORIA EXERCITVS coinage began after the city's dedication, but it's usually dated to just after the mint opened (327-8). I'd love to hear more about that. Here's my example, certainly one of my favourite coins from the mint:
    Screen Shot 2020-09-02 at 10.18.18 AM.jpg

    One of my few gold coins, a Leo solidus, is another favourite:
    Screen Shot 2020-09-02 at 10.15.41 AM.jpg

    Constantinople fell to the Latins in 1204, but was retaken by Michael VIII Palaeologus in 1261. Here's a trachy where he's proudly holding a little model of the city:
    Screen Shot 2020-09-02 at 10.17.15 AM.jpg

    When it was finally taken by the Ottomans in 1453, it was a husk of its former self, but of course it would be renewed to full glory. Here's the first issue from the Constantinople mint after the fall, a silver akce dated AH865 (1460-61), issued under Mehmet II 'The Conqueror.'
    Screen Shot 2020-09-02 at 10.17.34 AM.jpg
    zumbly, DonnaML, Orielensis and 11 others like this.
  14. Alegandron

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


    Ottoman Empire
    Suleiman the Magnificent
    1520-1566 CE
    AV Sultani
    Constantinople mint 1520 CE
    19mm 3.5g
  15. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    This coinage is part of the special commemorative coinage issued from Constantinople after the defeat of Licinius. I have a bit about this here- http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/war/
  16. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    Constantinople? Where is that? Oh, You mean Byzantium!

    byzantium2a.jpg Thrace, Byzantium. Geta AE14 Obv: Laureate bust of Geta r., wearing paludamentum.
    Rev: Winged caduceus.
    14mm., 1.57gm.
    BMC 88.
  17. Voulgaroktonou

    Voulgaroktonou Well-Known Member

    Thank you for an interesting write up, and you have reminded me of Mansel's book" Constantinople: city of the world's desire, 1453 - 1924. I think I own it, so I'll dig it out and it will be my next read. Meanwhile, a few of my Constantinopolitans.

    Constantine I, Constantinople, 327. Ae., 2.77 g. RIC 19. Labarum, above which, a Chi-Rho, piercing a serpent. (Poor photo - must retake)

    Constantius II, Siliqua, Constantinople. RIC 102. 3.46 g. Ex G. de Falco Mar. 1961.

    Anastasius I. Constantinople. 512-17. Half follis. 9.62 gr. 24.5 mm. hr. 8. Sear 25A; Hahn 20a (this coin). Ex Vecchi 8, Dec. 4, 1997, lot 401. Published in The Celator, April 1999, “A Pair of holed rarities”. When the weights of the follis and its fractions were doubled in 512, the mint evidently considered that the increased size of the flans would allow for a figural reverse type, here a seated representation of Constantinople holding a globus cruciger.
    Anastasius I. Constantinople. 512-17. Decanummium. 4.30 gr. 20 mm. hr. 6. Sear 28A; Hahn 21. Triton XV, lot 1573. Examples exist for the type on the follis, its half, and quarter, but it evidently did not give satisfaction, and specimens are extremely rare today. I will not live long enough (or be able to afford) a follis, should one come on the market, so I will be content with that line from Meatloaf, “Two out of three ain't bad.”
    Leo III. Constantinople, 717-41. Decanummium. 1.44 gr. 19 mm. hr. 6. Sear 1521; Hahn 28. Ex Berk/England Dec. 7, 1989, lot 288.
    And running to the end of things:
    Constantine XI. Constantinople. 1449/53. Eighth Stavraton. 0.63 gr. 12.7 mm. hr. 11. Sear -;DO 1789. Bendall, “The coinage of Constantine XI” (Revue Numismatique 1991, pp. 134-142), #110 (this coin).


  18. Alegandron

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

    CONSTANTINOPLE ON FIRE??? How about a Guy Fired C-Nople:

    Ottoman Turks
    Sultan Mahmed II
    took Constantinople in 1453
    Serez mint
    AR 1.2g
  19. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    My mistake. With my average English, I probably misunderstood what the RIC was meaning :

    Severus Alexander and Alegandron like this.
  20. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    A particularly Constantinopolitan type from the late 320s, perhaps around 327/8:

  21. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Ah - there are two GLORIA EXERCITVS types, the earlier one I posted above, and the more well known two soldiers with standards type. Makes sense now, thanks!
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