Gallienus Legionary Ants, Radiate lion; Bull Rx

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by TJC, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. TJC

    TJC Well-Known Member

    Warning: this is a long write-up and it has more Gallienus coins.;)

    This first legionary has radiate lion reverse. I am more than thrilled!!! This type with high detail may be one the nicest of all of Gallienus’s reign! This specific example has what I believe to be a die clash that has flattened some of the detail on the obverse and a dished / flattened on the reverse just above the lions back. Still, check out that detail!:D

    The second ant, with the Bull reverse does not have as much eye appeal but is no ugly duckling, and it does have plenty of detail. Both of these are difficult to find and usually have ton of issues. I am thrilled to have come by these in a condition that is well above average!:D

    In doing some research on these two legionary Gallienus coins and I have found that many opinions abound about when they were struck and what the legends represent. Here is a run through:

    John Melville Jones gives us good introduction to the Gallienus ‘legionary’ antoninianus writing that:

    “During the reign of Gallienus a series of legionary antoniniani was issued, with two novel features. In the first place the reverse types, instead of simply showing standards, presented a variety of different forms (bull, capricorn, Pegasus, [radiate lion] etc.) Which must represent the badges of the legions.”

    John Melville Jones, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins. Seaby, London. 1990. ISBN 1 85264 026 X

    GallienusRadiateLion475O3.jpg GallienusRadiateLion475R2.jpg GallienusRadiateLionRClose.jpg

    Gallienus Legionary AE antoninianus.
    Joint reign, AD 258 AD., Or early sole reign, 260 A.D.
    O: GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
    COHH PRAET VI P VI F, Radiate lion walking right.
    RIC V-1, 370 Milan; Goebl 0979r; Sear 10186.

    Starting with the Galleinus / Radiate Lion an issue, opinions seem to differ about when it was struck. The coin’s holder and Wildwinds cataloges this “legionary” antoniniani as being struck during the joint reign of Gallienus and his father Valerian in A.D. 258. I am guessing that this is an older opinion, alternate opinion, or an error. I agree more with David Sear who writes:

    “This [coin] forms Part of the extensive ‘legionary’ series of Gallienus (see nos. 10252-75) issued early in his sole reign at Milan, the base of the recently established field army commanded by [general] Aureolus. The units honored were the Praetorian Cohort and the seventeen legions, which had furnished detachments for the field army.
    Sear ME: S- 10186. Page-288.

    “the ‘legionary‘ series of Gallienus which was issued early in his sole reign at Milan, the base of the recently established field army commanded by Aureolus. The units honored were the Praetorian Cohort and the seventeen legions which had furnished detachments for the field army."
    Sear ME: S- 10252. Page-293.

    Note, John Melville Jones supports the COHH PRAET VI P VI F, Radiate lion walking right as being part of the legionary series writing that, “Similar antoniniani were issued with the reverse type of a lion for the Preatorian Cohorts.”
    John Melville Jones, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins. Seaby, London. 1990. ISBN 1 85264 026 X

    Beast coins agrees with the A.D. 260 striking of this issue writing:

    “In 260 following the defeats of the revolts, Gallienus produced Antoniniani at Milan, honoring his different legions. Each legion or cohort is featured through the legionary badge on the reverse...”

    It makes more sense (to me) that this extensive series covering numerous legions and the pratorians with the bust Gallienus would represent his reign and not his fathers. This is line of thought is assuming that Valerian was captured by Shapur in 260, ending his reign, a starting Gallienus’s sole reign.

    Further it makes sense that he, Gallienus, would have been seriously motivated to give money and recognition to those still loyal enough to be bought off. It is amazing that Gallienus was usurped completely. Valerian, the senior Augustus, was captured, two of Gallienus’s sons had died, the Eastern empire was in chaos, the Western empire had just broken off in open revolt, Italy had just been marauded by the Alamanni, and northern barbarians invasion was still eminent. Yes, Gallienus would have had to have done something to ensure loyalty. I believe these ‘legionary’ denari would have been just the ticket to secure at least a few legionaries’ loyalty.

    Another area of differing opinions concerns the reverse legends and their meaning, which can be quite different.

    John Melville Jones says:

    “the names of the legions were followed by formulae which seem to include numbers, V.P.V.F., VI.P.VI, and VII.P.VII.F. The correct explanation seems to be that the legions were being commended for the virtues of piety and fidelity, and the numbers indicated the years of the emperor’s reign. The first legend, for example, should be expanded Quintum (annum) pia, Quintum (annum) Fidelis. Similar antoniniani were issued with the reverse type of a lion for the Preatorian Cohorts.”

    John Melville Jones, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins. Seaby, London. 1990. ISBN 1 85264 026 X

    Wiki says: “the title [VI P VI F] Pia VI Fidelis VI, [translates to] "six times faithful, six times loyal".

    I do not buy into this explantion offered by Jones that the numbers indicate the numbers indicated the years of the emperor’s reign. Year ‘V’ would place the year struck as 257 or 258 (depending on inclusive or exclusive counting). As I mentioned above this does not make sense. I do like Jones’s accounting for the ‘P’ and the ‘F’ of COHH PRAET VI P VI F as Quintum (annum) pia, Quintum (annum) Fidelis.

    Beast coins offers an explanation of the COHH PRAET VI P VI F legend as:

    “…along with the victory number and PF for “Pia Fidelis”. One coin type was issued for each of the three battles in which the unit participated. Vistory V was against the Alemanni, VI was against Ingenuus, and VII was against Regalianus”

    As you can see Beast coins agrees that ‘P’ & ‘F’ stands for “Pia Fidelis”. Not sure how much stock I can put in this translation that claims to know which numbers match which victory over specific foes. It would be great we could. I would love to know the source info. Please share you know moreJ

    Sears says:

    “The numerals ‘VI’ and ‘VII’ appearing in the reverse legends may refer to the victories achieved by Aureolus over the usurpers Ingenuus and Regalian.”
    Sear ME: S- 10186. Page-288.

    Sears seems less than committal with his “may refer to” statement concerning the translation of the numeric legends. I too am still unsure of their meaning.

    GallienusBull475O1.jpg GallienusBull475R1.jpg GallienusBullR1Close.jpg

    Gallienus, AR Antoninianus, Milan. Joint reign. 258 AD.
    GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, cuirassed bust right
    LEG X GEM VI P VI F, Bull standing right.
    RIC V-1, Milan 357 (J).

    The next Gallienus legionary ant with the bull reverse shows excellent detail and may be more difficult to find than the lion. At least that is my experience. I will note the bull does look a little like a lion with horns and a look close-up makes it look more so. The style looks super similar to the Radiate lion, but no radiates for the bull. Maybe radiate animals are saved for Emperors and Praetorians?

    This type, like the radiate lion, are part of the extensive ‘legionary’ series of Gallienus. Its legend “LEG X GEM VI P VI F” that it honors the 10th Legion Gemina. The later legend “VI P VI F” is the same as that of the radiate lion coin above and likely indicative of a victory in the early reign of Gallienus.

    Wiki informs us that:

    Legio decima Gemina("The Twins' Tenth Legion"), was alegionof theImperial Roman army. It was one of the four legions used byJulius Caesarin 58 BC, for his invasion ofGaul. There are still records of the XGeminainViennain the beginning of the 5th century. The legion symbol was abull. Early on in its history, the legion was calledXEquestris(mounted), because Caesar once used thelegionariesascavalry.
    -During the 3rd century, the legion fought for several emperors, who awarded the legion with titles showing the fidelity of the legion and the favour gained by the Emperor himself….
    -For its support of EmperorGallienusagainstPostumus, theGeminawas awarded the titlePia VI Fidelis VI, "six times faithful, six times loyal".

    Legio X Gemina was based in Vindobona (Vienna), Austria
    Vindobona: Roman military base in Pannonia Superior

    If you have made this far, thanks for looking and reading!

    Please, feel free to share your thoughts on this write up and info. I almost always screw something up, so feel free to correct me. NicelyJ

    And feel free to share your Gallienus legionary coins:D
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  3. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for a great writeup.
    TJC likes this.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum

    Excellent information and coins. I have none of these legionary denarii, but I may just have to take a look for some. Thanks.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Very interesting, indeed.
  6. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    There may be a few that link up with your Antony denarii. That would be super cool!
  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Great reverses on the coins.
  8. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great post, and very neat coins!
  9. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great coins and excellent write up, congrats TJC. Love that lion. :)
  10. ro1974

    ro1974 Well-Known Member

    Wow nice lion, great coin[​IMG]
    Caracalla lion As one off my favorites
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