Constantius I, the Green Man

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by hotwheelsearl, May 16, 2021.

  1. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Constantius I, also called Constantius Chlorus after his death, is well known for being both the father of Constantine the Great and also being green?

    Well, probably not, as we have a pretty convincing color reconstruction of the man:

    He sort of looks like Claudius I, which was probably the intention with that haircut. Boy am I glad we've evolved past those ancient hairdos.

    Something neat that I found while doing some minor research was that, in the capital of Byzantium, there was, at the entrance, apparently two colossal seated bronze statues of the man and his son. These statues were either so large or so fragile that they were unable to be removed to Venice, like pretty much all the other good stuff in Byzantium. So, they were left behind and inevitably melted down for scrap. Very sad.

    In terms of numismatics, Constantius I is known as being probably the most expensive of the large-module follis coins; they're usually at least 2-3x as expensive as a large follis of, say, Diocletian. However, they're still very affordable in high grades. I bought this one for around $45, which I think was a banging deal.

    Constantius I RIC 59a Ticinium.JPG
    Constantius I.JPG
    My camera has a hard time capturing both the in-hand color and the full coin with no coronal fall-off, so above is the in-hand look (pic 1) and the full-coin (pic 2).

    It's a large, attractive coin with the standard tetrarchical block-head look for the portrait. However, it's still distinct enough to be identified by appearance alone. He's got a very Nervine hooked-nose which is kinda nice.

    The reverse figure of Fides with two standards is rahter much more stylized and impressionistic, which sort of reminds me of the Gallic emperors who tended to have incredibly naturalistic portraits but reverses which were exercises in abstraction.

    A notable story is that his first wife, Helena, actually found the True Cross, or at least the fragments thereof!
    Helena Heraclea RIC 79E (2020_11_18 03_38_31 UTC).JPG (Saint) Helena demolished the temple to Venus that was built over the Holy Sepulchre and found three crosses along with the True Nails. Since nobody knew which one was the actual Jesus cross, they had a great trick. The found a deathly ill woman and had her touch each of the three crosses. When she recovered miraculously upon touching one of the crosses, that one was determined to be the True Cross.
    These days, there are said to be so many "fragments of the True Cross" that, actually, several complete crosses could be constructed from all of the fragments. LOL

    There is a famous quote attributed to Chlorus that I can't for the life of me find, but it goes something along the lines of: "My sons, alone you will break like a fragile stick. But if you bundle four sticks together you will be stronger and unbreakable." (Something like that).
    The idea was the the Tetrarchy was the best and most effective way to keep the empire strong and from fragmenting. We all know how well that turned out.

    Please show your coins of The Green Man!
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  3. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great write up and great coin.

    Heres my (green) brown man

    P1180760 chlorus (2).jpg
  4. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    He definitely looks better on his coins than his statues!

    With coins from the London mint, I don't think he's the most expensive for large folles (Severus II beats him), so I have two:

    Constantius I as Caesar, 300
    London. Bronze, 28mm, 9.29g. FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB C. GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (RIC VI 14a).

    Constantius I as Augustus, 305-6
    London. Bronze, 27mm, 9.50g. CONSTANTIVS P F AVG. GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI (RIC VI 52a). From the Falmouth Hoard, 1865, discovered with 600-1000 Roman bronze coins of the 3-4th centuries AD. Catalogued by Lord Stewartby.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  5. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    Chlorus can mean light green or light yellow, but it can also mean pale; which is probably what later historians had in mind when they nicknamed him-- Constantius the Pale.
  6. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    quarter follis
  7. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    A little bit of green:
    Constantius I. As Caesar, 293-305 AD. Æ Follis (28mm, 8.91 gm, 6h). Cyzicus mint, 2nd officina. Struck circa 295-296 AD. Obv: Laureate head right. Rev: Genius standing left, holding patera and cornucopia; KB in ex. RIC VI 11a.
  8. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Mr. Chlorus with a bust facing left - not very common.
  9. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    An awful lot of green encrustations on this reverse:
    Rom – Constantius Chlorus, Follis, Siscia.png
    Constantius Chlorus, Roman Empire, AE1 ("follis"), 296 AD, Siscia mint. Obv: CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES; head of Constantius Chlorus, laureate, r. Rev: GENIO POPVLI ROMANI; Genius, wearing modius, nude, chlamys draped over left shoulder, standing l., holding patera in r. hand and cornucopiae in l. hand; in field r., A; in exergue, *SIS. 27mm, 9.91g. RIC VI Siscia 98a.
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  10. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    He was maybe the grandnephew of Claudius the Gothicus, but it is not a certainty. Here's a brown one:

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  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Aesop makes just such a use of the double meaning of χλωρός (chloros) in Fable 120 (as written by Babrius), the tale of the fox and the frog. The story only makes sense when you know that chloros means both pale and green.

    Ὁ τελμάτων ἔνοικος ὁ σκιῇ χαίρων,
    ὁ ζῶν ὀρυκτοῖς βάτραχος παρ' εὐρίποις,
    εἰς γῆν παρελθὼν ἔλεγε πᾶσι τοῖς ζῴοις·
    "ἰατρός εἰμι φαρμάκων ἐπιστήμων,
    οἵων ταχ' οὐδεὶς οἶδεν, οὐδ' ὁ Παιήων,
    ὃς Ὄλυμπον οἰκεῖ καὶ θεοὺς ἰατρεύει."
    "καὶ πῶς" ἀλώπηξ εἶπεν "ἄλλον ἰήσῃ,
    ὃς σαυτὸν οὕτω χλωρὸν ὄντα μὴ σώζεις;​

    I translate this as follows:

    The denizen of the marshes, the one who rejoices in shade,
    that creature the frog, who lives along the dug ditches,
    came out on dry land and said to all the creatures,
    "I am a doctor, skilled in the use of drugs
    such as no one knows, not even Paean,
    who dwells on Olympus and is physician to the gods!"

    "Then how," said a fox, "can you heal another,
    when you cannot save yourself from being so green/pale (chloros)?"​


    I have a couple of GENIO issues to share.

    Constantius I GENIO POPVLI ROMANI follis Trier.jpg
    Constantius I, Caesar, 293-305.
    Roman billon follis, 9.95 g, 26.6 mm, 11 h.
    Trier, AD 296-97.
    Obv: CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES, laureate head right.
    Rev: GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI, Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over left shoulder, holding patera and cornucopiae; A/Γ//TR.
    Refs: RIC vi, p. 183, 218a; Cohen 61; RCV 14035.

    Constantius I, Caesar, 293-305.
    Roman billon follis, 9.83 g, 26.3 mm, 5 h.
    Antioch, AD 300-301.
    Obv: FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES, laureate head right.
    Rev: GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI, Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over left shoulder, holding patera from which liquid flows, and cornucopiae; K/B-V//ANT.
    Refs: RIC vi, p. 620, 55a; Cohen 89; RCV 14069.
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
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  12. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Diameter: 29 mm Weight: 9.34 grams. Mint: Cyzicus, c. A.D. 297-299.
    Obverse: Laureate head right.
    Reverse: Genius standing left, holding patera and cornucopia.

    Constantius as Caesar, 293-305
    22 mm. 3.90 grams.
    Jupiter and Hercules, protectors of the Caesars
  13. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    I have not noticed coins of Constantius I noticeably more expensive than those of the other tetrachs (at least in the US), although the reverse of the OP is scarcer than the GENIO and SACRA MONETA reserves and probably commands a premium. Also, coins of his as Augustus are harder to find than those of him as Caesar since he was Augustus for such a short time.

    One nice thing about these large nummi is that they did not stay large for very long. Consequently, many of them were pulled from circulation and hoarded after circulating for just a few years. The result is that there any many examples of these coins in good condition available to collectors today.
    Constantius I
    Caesar, A.D. 293-305
    Augustus, A.D. 305-306

    Bronze Nummus
    Siscia mint, A.D. 300-301
    Rev: SACRA MONETA AVGG ET CAESS NOSTR - Moneta, standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae
    SIS in exergue; ✳ in left field, B in right
    RIC 135a
    28mm, 9.5g.
  14. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Oh man! That modern reconstruction is hilarious:hilarious: Chlorus the Doofus:bucktooth:
    And really nice example HWE:cigar:
    Here's my example and yes he IS green:troll::D
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  15. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

  16. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Last edited: May 17, 2021
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