Featured Julian: The Beard and the Bull

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Curtisimo, Jun 22, 2019.


What do you think the bull represents on this coin?

  1. The biblical Golden Calf

    0 vote(s)
  2. A sacrificial scene

  3. The Apis Bull

  4. The emperor Julian

  5. The astrological sign of Julian's birth

  6. Mithraic iconography

  7. Helios / Cattle of Helios

  8. Other

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Svarog

    Svarog Well-Known Member

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  3. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    If you haven't had the Julian II bull type in hand you might not realize it is 4 mm larger than a US quarter. It is a big coin.

    Julian II
    29 mm. 7.51 grams.
    RIC VIII Cyzicus 127 "3 Nov. 361 - 26 June 363"
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  5. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Welcome back, Curtis, and wow, what a great article and terrific coin! :) I’ve always wanted a nice bull of Julian’s, but have yet to snag one. The portrait on yours is truly phenomenal!

    I agree with TIF about the iconography of the reverse allowing for multiple meanings and interpretations. But, if an overt one was intended, I like best the idea that Julian with this distinctive issue intended to convey in unambiguous terms the idea that he sought to re-establish the old Pagan order. I don’t think it actually needs to be proven he was himself an initiate of Mithraism to use the symbology of the bull in tauroctomy to represent the dawning of a new age. With the SECVRITAS legend, Julian reassured his soldiers and subjects that even with the rolling back of the Christian rule of the past few decades, he would prioritize the security of the empire. You showed a similar-looking bull on a coin of Gallienus in your OP, but here's another one from Augustus that has the bull in a pose almost identical to Julian's. Coincidence? :cow:

  6. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    The first coin is similar to the OP. The second one shows the abduction of Europa (Phoenician) by Zeus who was disguised in the shape of a bull (Sidon) Elagabalus.

    Bul Julian II O           Tauros.JPG BulJant R        Antioch.JPG Gabalus R       Europa.JPG ElagEur.JPG
  7. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Congrats on that phenomenal example (silvering! and what a beard!!) and the usual fantastic writeup. But mostly: it's wonderful to see you on CT again, my friend!

    Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 5.39.59 PM.jpg
  8. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    1 coin all year:confused: but what a coin to break the streak:woot:
    Another AWESOMEO Curtisimo thread!
    The slight that ticked Julian off wasn't the reverse, it's that whispy beard!
    He used to look like such a sweet fresh faced boy:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
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  9. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Supporter! Supporter

    Here is my other Julian JU-125 OBV.jpg JU-125 REV.jpg
  10. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    Gorgeous coin and a fantastic write up @Curtisimo !

    I have a several rough JII AE coins, here is my bull....pretty rough.


    Julian II, AE 1, 360-363 AD

    O: DN FLCL IVLIANVS PF AVG, R: SECVRITAS REIPVB, bull with stars above. CONSPA (palm branch) in ex. Constantinople mint. RIC VIII 164, 30 mm, 7.9 g.

    Here is a scrappy little FTR of clean shaven J II, this is actually my fav I own.


    Julian II 355-360 AD

    O: DN IVLIANV-S NOB CAES, R: Fallen horseman, AN (gamma) in ex, Antioch mint. (Antioch 189), 16 mm, 2.9 g
  11. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great post and coin. IMG_2757.JPG
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  12. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    I won't bother reposting the wretched Æ which is the only Julian II ever owned by me.

    (It too was a "scrappy little FTR of clean shaven J II' like @chrsmat71 posted in the reply before last, but scrappier and not as nice.)

    Good to see you back, @Curtisimo.
  13. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    There’s also probably overlap in the underlying myths.
    Edessa and Curtisimo like this.
  14. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Hey @Curtisimo the Great(ish) !
    Glad to see you back on the boards, I missed you my friend

    As already stated above, that's a fabulous coin and, unsurprinsingly, a wonderful writeup !

    Julian II, AE 1 - Antioch mint, 3 rd officina
    D N FL CL IVLI ANVS P F AVG, Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Julianus right
    SECURITAS REIPUB, Bull to right, two stars above. ANT gamma between two branches at exergue
    8.73 gr
    Ref : Cohen #38, RC #4072, LRBC #2641

    Some other bulls

    Syracuse Agathokles 317-289 BC
    SYPAKOSYWN. Head of Kore left
    Bull butting left, two dolphins and linked VA in field
    6.0 gr, 20 mm
    Ref : Sear #1195 var

    1117 - L. Thorius Balbus, Denarius - Rome mint, 105 BC
    Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing a goat's skin, ISMR behind
    Bull charging right, L above (control letter), L. THORIVS BALBVS in two lines at exergue
    3.93 gr
    Ref : RCV # 192, RSC, Thoria # 1

    Augustus, Denarius - Lyon mint c.12 BC
    AUGUSTUS DIVI F, Bare head of Augustus right
    IMP X, Bull butting right
    3.77 gr
    Ref : RCV #1610, Cohen #137

  15. Theodosius

    Theodosius Fine Style Seeker Supporter

    Great coin and post Curtis and nice to see you back on the forum.

    Ok, I give up, when are you going to post the correct answer? Winner gets a dinner at Ponderosa steak house right?

    :troll::troll::troll: :shame:

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  16. Blake Davis

    Blake Davis Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coin - these used to be more common than they are now. I have never seen one before with silvering - this is a truly nice looking example and fascinating writeup

    (isn't that true all ancient coins used to be more common! Maybe more commonly sold is the better phrasing since the coins had to go somewhere, although I have no idea where since few ever seems to make it back to the market)
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  17. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Happy to be able to share a new one...I just won this one today at the Naville auction.


    Julian II, AE1, Arles circa 360-363, 26mm., 10.49g. Pear-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. Bull standing r., head facing; above, two stars; in r. field, eagle, standing r. on wreath, head l., holding another wreath in its beak. In exergue SCONST. C 38. RIC 320.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
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  18. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Congrats! I liked that one very much and had it on my watchlist. In the end, I didn't participate in the auction. One of these days I'd like to get one of these with the bonus eagle.
    Shea19 and Curtisimo like this.
  19. jorglueke

    jorglueke Member

    Just seeing the bull with two stars and being an avid stargazer myself I've always associated this coin with Taurus.
    Curtisimo likes this.
  20. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    Good to see you back around with your excellent posts @Curtisimo
    Curtisimo likes this.
  21. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    The face and beard look markedly different on the Antioch issues than on the others. As noted, the citizens made fun of Julian’s appearance, and their coins were singled out as insulting. The devices were otherwise the same throughout the other cities, which makes me believe the style was what was insulting to Julian, not the content.
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