Filius Augustorum

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by jamesicus, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    During the Conferance at Carnuntum in the Autumn of 308, consisting of Diocletian and Maximian Herculius as Seniores (retired) Augusti and Galerius Maximian as the de-facto legitimate Augustus, which was convened in an attempt to resolve the urgent constitutional problems threatening the Tetrarchy, Galerius suggested that neither Constantine or (Edit) Maximinus Daia (legitimate Caesar of the West and East respectively) be recognized as Augustus, proposing instead that his old friend and military comrade Flavius Valerius Licinianus Licinius (Licinius), be appointed Augustus of the West to replace the deceased Severus and he obtained the concurrence of Diocletian and Maximian Herculius in this maneuver. Maxentius was declared an enemy of the state by the conferees and Maximian Herculius once more went into retirement. Galerius proposed that Constantine (recently, and questionably elevated to Augustus by Maximian Herculius) be formally recognized as Caesar of the West (although Constantine did not acquiesce) and Maximian Daia remain as Caesar of the East.

    Filius Augustorum

    Constantine was incensed at his proposed "demotion" to Caesar subservient to Licinius as was Maximinus at the elevation of Licinius to Augustus over him, and so Galerius Maximian designated both of them Filius Augustorum: "Son of the Augustus" -- a somewhat empty title of convenience and compromise -- in an attempt to mollify them. This attempt to placate the two de-facto Caesars didn't work however. Constantine generally ignored it (for instance, no coins bearing this titulature were minted in any of the western mints now controlled by him: London, Trier, and Lugdunum {Lyon}). Maximinus begrudgingly minted some coins bearing this titulature at the mints he controlled (Alexandria and Antioch). The remaining issues bearing this titulature were produced by Galerius at the mints he controlled: Siscia, Thessalonica and Nicomedia.


    RIC VI, Alexandria, No. 99b, Constantine as Filius Augustorum

    FL VAL CONSTANTINVS FIL AVG ..................................... GENIO CAESARIS
    ALE in reverse exergue

    RIC VI, Thessalonica, No. 32a, Maximinus Daia as Filius Augustorum

    MAXIMINVS FIL AVGG ................................... GENIO CAESARIS
    SMTS in reverse exergue

    Coins with this designation were struck in the names of Constantine and Maximinus Daia by Galerius Maximian and only at the Eastern/Asia Minor Mints he controlled: Siscia, Thessalonica, and Nicomedia.

    There is an excellent in-depth discussion of this coinage on @Valentinian’s web site.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
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  3. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you for the kind words. For those of you who don't know the link, it is

    It illustrates and discusses the copper coinage of 306-310 goes into detail about who was ruling where when.

    One coin discussed there is:
    Fig24o.jpg Fig24r.jpg
    Coin 24
    Constantine, as FIL AVG
    24 mm.
    Struck c. early to later 309
    at Antioch
    [only one G]
    (This is the only variety mentioning FIL AVGG on the reverse.)
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Who will explain why some show FIL AVGG and some show FIL AVG?

  5. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    I think I know why some have FIL AVGG and others FIL AVG. About half way down my page the aftermath of the conference at Carnuntum is discussed. There were six rulers vying to be Augusti (explained on the site). Then, I quote:

    "Galerius tried to strike a compromise by inventing and awarding the title "Filius Augusti" to these two [Constantine and Maximinus II]. Regardless of whether it was supposed to be a rank higher than Caesar, Maximinus would not have it and continued to strike coins for himself with his old title Caesar. Constantine continued to strike with the title Augustus. Coins show each as FIL AVG or FIL AVGG, but only at mints they did not influence. Galerius, who thought up the idea, struck FIL AVGG coins (with two G's) for both Constantine and Maximinus II at Siscia and Thessalonica. In addition, FIL AVG coins (with one G) were struck by Galerius for Constantine at Nicomedia and by Maximinus for Constantine at Antioch and Alexandria .13 Maximinus did not strike them for himself. Other eastern mints simply did not strike for Constantine at all. Constantine did not strike for Galerius ever again, or for Maximinus until he became Augustus with Constantine in mid 310."

    In summary, Galerius thought this title up and decided Constantine and Maximinus II should each be FIL AVG. So, at mints controlled by Galerius (Siscia and Thessalonica) there were two such rulers and GG legends. However, Maximinus II rejected the title and continued to strike as Caesar at his own mints so at mints he influenced there was only one FIL AVG (Constantine).
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  6. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Great information, and so fascinating! I just read about this briefly last month. Here's my coinage contribution:

    Maximinus II Daia, AE2 Follis
    Struck Dec. 308 - May 310 AD, Thessalonica Mint
    MAXIMINVS • FIL • AVGG, Head of Maximinus Daia, laureate, right.
    Reverse: • GENIO CA-ESARIS, Genius, wearing modius, sometimes radiate, nude, chlamys draped over left shoulder, standing left, pouring liquid from patera in right hand and holding cornucopiae in left hand. Delta in right field, star in left.
    Exergue: SM•TS
    References: RIC VI 32a, Cohen 42
    Size: 24mm, 6.3g
  7. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Interesting write up, @jamesicus. I was under the impression that Galerius invented the title “filius augustorum” as a means of placating Constantine as he gained power in the West against Galerius’s successor, Severus. I did not realize the title originated after Severus's death.

    Here's my FIL AVGG example, from Siscia.

    CON 1 FIL AUGG 1.jpg
  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    This is a great article @jamesicus ! A very important wrinkle in history illustrated on the coinage. Sadly, I don't have any examples of FIL AVG or FIL AVGG types, but I will keep my eye peeled. Thanks again.
  9. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    As usual @jamesicus you have provided us with a useful and interesting writeup. Thanks very much for this contribution. Your research skills are obvious and valuable.
  10. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    And thank you for that nice reply @ancient coin hunter.
  11. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you @Orfew - I think the beginning of my write-up reads awkwardly - I was not up to par this morning when I wrote it and the words wouldn’t flow the way I wanted them too. But enough with excuses - the interest, curiosity and analysis of @dougsmit and @Valentinian should not go unnoticed or be under appreciated.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Thanks for the good work. I have not personally seen the GG coins of Constantine or the G coins of Maximinus but that does not mean anything.
  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Thanks for the informative and concise writeup, @jamesicus.

    I have only two, both FIL AVGG and from Thessalonica. Still looking for a FIL AVG to better fill out the picture.

    Maximinus II - Fil Avg.jpg

    Constantine - FIL AVGG.jpg
  14. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Justin Lee likes this.
  15. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    I'd like to return to this helpful thread--one of a couple on the FIL AVGG designation. James, Warren, and others have helpfully explained the context for this short-lived title, as well as why some titles are FIL AVG and some FIL AVGG.

    My question concerns why the Genius of the Caesars would be honored on a coin (like those of Doug above) whose obverse has implicitly rejected, upgraded, or otherwise replaced the title of Caesar.

    Some FIL AVGG reverses (e.g., RIC VI Siscia 200b) read GENIO AVGUSTI, thereby honoring the Genius of the Augustus. Others (e.g., RIC VI Thessalonica 32b and RIC VI Alexandria 99b) read GENIO CAESARIS, honoring the Genius of the Caesar. But with Galerius designating both Constantine and Maximinus Daia as Filii Augusti (or Augustorum--is the augustus to be pluralized too?) rather than Caesares, it seems incongruous to honor the Genius of the Caesars on a coin that no longer utilizes that title. Perhaps the FIL AVGG coin with the GENIO CAESARIS reverse indicates that the designations of Caesar and Filius Augustorum were not to be mutually exclusive; with this thinking, the Filii Augustorum were still very much Caesars, but were “super-Caesars,” given their familial connections and esteem in the eyes of Galerius. Thoughts?

    Here's my hideous Constantine FIL AVG celebrating the Genius of the Caesar. upload_2021-1-12_8-4-58.png
  16. Caesar_Augustus

    Caesar_Augustus Well-Known Member

    I am honored to have been the fortunate new temporary custodian of your coin from Alexandria, James.

    Constantine the Great
    AE Follis
    309 - 310 A.D., Alexandria Mint, 1st Officina
    6.77g, 24.5mm, 6H

    Laureate head right

    Reverse: GENIO CA-ESARIS,
    Genius standing left, holding patera and cornucopia

    Exergue: K/(A over P)//ALE

    Provenance: Ex. Ancient & Medieval Coins Canada Auction 1, Lot 163, Ex. James Pickering Romano-Britannic Collection

    Reference: RIC VI Alexandria 99b
  17. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you for that post, @Caesar_Augustus. It is always nice to know where your “Ex. Coins” end up. This one appears to be in excellent hands!

  18. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    I’ll trade you.
    Caesar_Augustus likes this.
  19. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter


    I got this coin from Victor Clarke but forgot to add that to the Provenance. Please do that @Caesar_Augustus. Thank you!
    Caesar_Augustus likes this.
  20. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Very nice post and examples!

    I have one of each as well -

    Constantine fil avgg genio.jpg

    Maximinus II
    Maximinus II FIL AVGG Thessalonica genio.jpg
  21. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

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