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. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    I do a little stargazing myself...


    Though these days I find myself spending more time gazing at our own star instead with my H-Alpha solar telescope.

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  3. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    @Curtisimo .. .I have had my eye on one of these coins for some time. Haven't been able to secure one that fits my budget - but someday.

    That is THE BEST portrait I have ever seen for one of these - so amazing.
    Curtisimo likes this.
  4. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    This coin does present something of a puzzle as it appears to be the only overt reference to paganism on Julian's coinage. Otherwise his coinage is in most regards rather similar to everything else that is out there. There must be something about the large denominate Aes coins. After all at least initially Magnentius struck a very overt Christian coin on basically the same denomination.
    I suspect that the easy solution is that the bull represents some form of sacrificial offering common to many pagan rites. This is despite the lack of any of the paraphernalia associated with sacrificial animals especially bulls.
  5. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    I can relate, and you really got a nice one. Back in the late 90s a dealer by the name of Ed Waddell ran an auction in which he offered an immaculate run of these, one from each mint that struck them. That made quite an impression on me since I knew I did not have the deep pockets that were needed at the time to try to do that. Still, I thought I would give it a try (off and on) until I had assembled a set by about 2005 that was only missing one mint. I kind of lost interest in the project after that, but have kept all the coins. I have a few added varieties from certain mints, but here is a run of one for each mint, except for one mint. Guess which mint is missing. From west to east they are:
    Lugdunum (Lyons) RIC viii 236

    Arelate (Arles) RIC viii 318

    Siscia (RIC viii 418)

    Sirmium (RIC viii 107)

    Thessalonika (RIC viii 225)

    Heraclea (RIC viii 104)

    Constantinople (RIC viii 163)

    Nicomedia (RIC viii 121)

    Cyzicus (RIC viii 126)

    Antioch (RIC viii 216)

    Maybe not the worlds greatest, but it was a kick. Have fun comparing the interpretive styles.
  6. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

  7. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    It's Aquilea. Anybody got one. They are not howling rarities, it just depends on when they come up.

    Here is an example (not mine) from the missing mint:
    Edessa, TIF, Alegandron and 5 others like this.
  8. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    I am wondering if we are missing something by trying to study this issue of coins on its own without looking at the coin in the context of what was issued at the same time as it was. If one looks at the last issues of Constantius II one finds that the solidii feature the emperor as a soldier and the reverse the theme of a united empire. Along with the gold the silver congratulates him on his many years of service and the hope he will continue for another ten years. The aes continues the celebration of the emperor bringing grief to his enemies, though at the very end one finds a series depicting him in military garb holding spear and globe. Overall these coins present a unified theme of a strong and capable soldier with many years of proven success keeping the enemies of Rome at bay.
    When looking at coins of Julian one immediately sees a subtle change. The militancy is reserved to the reverse of the gold coinage, with the silver and smaller aes essentially promising good government. Then we are left with the "bull" coinage. It is possible that he is signaling as a part of this "good" governance the restoration of pagan worship. But I wonder if there is something else going on here as well. Peace is sometimes depicted in Roman art as a pastoral scene with people being able to tend their fields without the fear of war. I wonder if that is something he might be trying to signal. conbis10.jpeg Solidius of Constantius II conbis12.JPG Siliqua of Constantius II
    Gallienus, Edessa, Restitutor and 8 others like this.
  9. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    I love the large Julian bull type.

    I am not attempting that, but I will pick up a new mint when the condition and price are right.


    28-27 mm. 8.67 grams.
    Julian II, struck 3 Nov. 361 - 26 June 363.
    RIC VIII Nicomedia 121.
    Edessa, TIF, Curtisimo and 4 others like this.
  10. Cachecoins

    Cachecoins Historia Moneta Supporter

    A stunning example of the type and a great read...thanks!
    Curtisimo likes this.
  11. IMP Shogun

    IMP Shogun Well-Known Member

    CNG had two of these that almost didn't sell. I bought one, wish I bought both :( They are not great quality but a really cool coin.
    Curtisimo likes this.
  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I finally had to check "OTHER" even though I really never fill out Polls.

    Because, I believe that Julian was trying to say:

    RI Julian II CE 360-363 AE1 maiorina Diademed R - SECVRITAS REIPVB 2 stars Apis Bull stg R ANT-Gamma 2 palms ANTIOCH RIC 217 LRBC 2641
    Cucumbor, Edessa, Ryro and 6 others like this.
  13. Broucheion

    Broucheion Well-Known Member

    My wife would say “Beef, it’s who’s for dinner”.
    Curtisimo and Alegandron like this.
  14. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    That is one of the things I love about this coin type. Very cool story coin that you don’t have to break the bank for. Thanks for commenting.

    Hahaha. Well at least we got an answer outta you finally!
    Alegandron likes this.
  15. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Here's the one from the Sirmium mint that I bought in the recent Frank Robinson auction; see the current thread about that auction for further details:

    New Julian II bull Obv 2.jpg

    New Julian II Bull Rev 1.jpg
    galba68, Edessa, TIF and 5 others like this.
  16. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Hey Curtis! Good to see you! We all miss you!!! Any chance you'll be posting more frequently in the near future? (No pressure, you gotta do what you gotta do, I'm just hoping to see you around more.)
  17. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Thanks SA! I miss participating in the forum as well. I haven’t been able to buy many coins this year but I did relatively recently pick up two new ones that I’ll have to photograph and write up! (My first and only coins of the year so far)

    I AM looking forward to AMCC III though. Can’t not participate in that annual event! Is it still going live this month?
    Cucumbor and Alegandron like this.
  18. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Sounds like you're still super busy then - stay well, my friend! I hope to see you around more soon.

    Yes, or at the very latest early Oct. Always takes a long time to do all those descriptions... :oops:
  19. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    As usual in these matters I prefer Nicomedia for the style. Nicomedia also seems to have struck less of these and of the votive centenionalis. Nicomedia was hit in December 362 by a particularly destructive earthquake, which likely shortened the number of issues minted in 363 and even afterwards.

  20. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    some Christians in Antioch protested about Julian II "shouting that his coinage had a bull and that the world was overturned." (Socrates, Hist. Eccl. 3.17)
  21. bcuda

    bcuda El Ibérico loco

    My two Julian II coins.


    Julian II.
    The Apostate
    360-363 AD. Æ 20mm
    PF AVG, helmeted bust left,
    with spear and shield
    Rev: VOT/X/MVLT/XX, legend
    in four lines within wreath,
    mintmark HERACL dot B.
    Heraclea mint. (3.23 gm).
    RIC VIII 106


    Julian II.
    AD 360-363 Æ Maiorina
    Antioch, AD 361-363.
    P F AVG, diademed, draped
    and cuirassed bust of Julian II right.
    Rev: SECVRITAS REIPVB, bull standing
    right; above,two stars (branch)ANTA
    (branch). RIC 218; LRBC 2640.
    (9.11 g)Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins
    & Collectibles, Inc.
    Auction 112 Lot 1628
    Curtisimo, Valentinian, PeteB and 4 others like this.
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