Апостол Павел,(“Apostle Paul”, Andrei Rublev c. AD 1410; Zvenigorod, Russian Federation (Public Domain image) Inspired by @Roman Collector's courageous confession, I decided that I should also come clean. I try to rationalise my modern purchase, with the justification that there is a story that starts with Nero and the time of the Apostle Paul's death. An early source describes his death this way: “For the same cause [Envy] did Paul in like manner receive the reward of his patience. Seven times he was in bonds; he was whipped, was stoned; he preached both in the East and in the West; leaving behind him the glorious report of his faith. And so having taught the whole world righteousness, and for that end traveled even to the utmost bounds of the West; he at last suffered martyrdom by the command of the governors” -The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Clement bishop of Rome, c. 97 AD, 3.13-14 Nero, Æ As, Lugdunum, circa AD 67 Obv: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P, bare head right, globe at point of bust Rev: Victory flying to left, holding shield inscribed S P Q R; S-C across fields Ref: RIC II 543, (or 541, or 605?) Nero, the ultimate "governor" at the time, blamed Christians for the famous fire during which he is said to have “fiddled”. Nero, after the fire of July 19, 64 AD, according to Tacitus, attempted to distract from the rumor that the fire had taken place by his order, shifting blame to the Christians: “Therefore, to scotch the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians.” -Tacitus, Annals, XV.44 26-27 St. Paul was executed close to this time circa AD 65-67. His body was buried outside the walls on the Via Ostiensis that ran West toward the Port of Ostia Antica. His tomb became a place of worship with a “cella memoriae”, a memorial that would attract pilgrims through years of persecution. I try to rationalise my modern purchase, with the justification that there is a link with Constantine & Licinius in 313 AD and the Edict of Milan (Mediollanum) declaring religious tolerance and ending formally Roman persecution of Christians. Constantine ordered the building of a basilica above the tomb of St. Paul which was consecrated November 18, 324 AD by Pope Sylvester I (314 AD - 335 AD). Constantine I “The Great”, 307/10-337, Follis, Heraclea, struck AD 313-314 Obv: IMP C FL VAL CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, Laureate head right. Rev: IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG / E / SMHT, Jupiter standing facing, head left, holding Victory on globe and sceptre; at feet to left, eagle. Ref: RIC 5 Licinius I, 308-324, Follis, Nicomedia, struck 317-320 Obv: IMP LICINIVS AVG, Laureate and draped bust of Licinius to left holding mappa in his right hand and globe and scepter in his left Rev: IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG, palm – A, SMN, Jupiter, naked but for cloak, standing front, his head turned to left, holding Victory set on globe in his right hand and long vertical scepter with his left Ref: RIC VII 24 But perhaps I will stop making excuses and share the modern medal, issued after the fire on June 15, 1823, that destroyed the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. This large, rare, well-preserved, commemorative medal by G. Girometti was issued in 1825 with an image of the ruins of the church, haunting and beautiful - it brings fresh to mind the tragic fire of Notre Dame from last year. Papal States, Leon XII, 1823-1829, Bronze Medal, 1825, commemorative issue of Santa Maria in Trastevere Church Size: 66.35g, 51mm Ref: Bertuzzi 52, Patrignani 35 Obv: BASILIC S PAVLI EX INCENDIO XV IVL MDCCCXXII GIROMETTI FEC Rev: SVBSTITVTA A LEONE XII PONT. MA, S. MARIA TRANS TIBER IN EA SACR. RITVS IMPLEVIT PRO IVBILEO A. MDCCCV CARD. EPISC: PORTVENSIS BARTHOLOMEVS PACCA The Basilica was rebuilt with attention to original detail and on December 10, 1854, Pope Pius IX (1846-1876) consecrated the restored Basilica. There is a a virtual tour of the Papal Basilica - St. Paul Outside the Walls, and more of the history can be found here. Share your modern medals, or coins of Nero, Licinius I, and Constantine I, or anything else you find entertaining or interesting.