Last of the Laureates

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Magnus Maximus, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    As someone who has been purchasing Seleucid tetradrachms like they are going out of style, I am very used to seeing diademed kings on coins. However, the other day I was browsing eBay and I came across a lovely Crispus AE-3 from Thessalonica. The first thing I noticed was that Crispus is not wearing a diademed but a laurel wreath.

    According to Victor Clark, Constantine I abandoned the laurel wreath due to it's pagan connotations along with the desire to be viewed in the similar vain as a hellenistic monarch. From what I can tell the last Roman coins to use laurel wreaths were the Caesar coinages of Crispus, Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans. When Gallus and later Julian II became Caesars decades later they are depicted bare headed instead wearing the traditional laurel wreath.

    As for the man on the money; Crispus was the oldest son of Constantine I by way of his concubine/first wife. Crispus was an able military commander, who helped win a decisive naval victory over Licinius in 324. My coin was struck at Crispus's high point in 324, when it looked like the Roman Empire would have a capable and level headed successor to Constantine I. It was not to be, two years latter Crispus would be put to death by his father for unknown reasons.

    Fun fact

    According to Douglas Smith's article titled Buying Power of Ancient Coins, he states that two silvered AE-3 could buy a loaf of bread.

    Please post your later laurel wreath coins!!!


    Crispus, Caesar - Thessalonica, 324 CE. Æ follis,
    FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES laureate, draped, cuirassed bust left
    CAESARVM NOSTRORVM around VOT X in two lines in wreath; below: TSΔVI.
    RIC 125.
    2.67 grams
    Silvered AE-3

    Fun reading Power of Ancient Coins
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  3. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    That's a very nice Crispus, I like the silvering.


    Valentinian I, circa 364 A.D., (19mm, 3.37g), Sirmium, AE Follis, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Valentinian I to right. Rev. VOT / V / MVLT / X in four lines within laurel wreath; in exergue, BSIRM. RIC 8.
  4. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    Shea, your coin is pearl-diademed.
  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Jovianus. Note what (I think) is a laurel wreath on the reverse. Is it true that laurel wreaths ended with Constantine's kids, but that they were still used on reverses during later periods?


  6. Alegandron

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

    Nice pickup, @Magnus Maximus ... great strike, centered, and lots of detail. Nice History.


    RI Constantine I CE 306-337 Æ Follis 19mm 3.2g Siscia CE 326-7 AVG Laureate R - PROVIDENTIAE AVGG Camp gate 2 turrets no door star RIC 200

    RI Balbinus 238 CE AR Denarius 20mm 3.7g Rome Laureate draped cuirasses - Victory wreath palm RIC 8
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  7. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Whoops, you’re right, should have noticed that. Thanks Victor.
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  8. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Vetranio is also represented with a laureate bust:


    And I think @ancient coin hunter 's Iovian is the ASIRM unrecorded officina of Sirmium 120, with laurel and rosette-diademed bust right:


    If laurel remained an attribute of the Caesares of the 330s and Constantine's heirs up to around 340 and we accept this as true, then Vetranio used it especially to appeal to Constantius II. But by the time of Iovian, the House of Valentinian or the Eastern mints under the House of Theodosius, probably a more ornate head-gear was just that: a more ornate head-gear.
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  9. David@PCC


    Never really thought about it, but don't see it much past the 340's
    Constantius II
    Mint: Antioch
    324 to 325 AD
    AE Follis
    Obvs: Laureate, draped, and cuirass bust left.
    Revs: CONSTAN TI•VS CAESAR SMANTS in four lines. Star above, dot below.
    16x18mm, 2.32g
    Ref: RIC VII 60; LRBC 1327

    Constantine II
    Mint: Rome
    320 AD
    AE Follis
    Obvs: CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C, Laureate draped and cuir.
    Revs: VOT X ET XV F PR, in three lines within laurel wreath.
    19x20mm, 3.22g
    Ref: cf. RIC VII.209
    Note: Mint mark P not known for this RIC entry. Only S & Q are recorded. Possibly unpublished.

    Mint: Siscia
    337 AD
    AE 3
    Obvs: FL DELMATIVS NOB C, Bust laureate draped cuirass right.
    Revs: GLORIA EXERCITVS, Standard between two soldiers. BSIS*
    17x18mm, 1.60g
    Ref: RIC VII 266
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  10. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Nice coins everyone. Here is my Crispus, last emission in Rome (326 AD). This type started after the fall of Licinius in 324 AD.

    Crispus Ae follis
    Laureate draped & cuirassed
    Rome 326 AD 19mm 2.60g
    RIC VII 288
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  11. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    I think your Vetranio may be the last instance of a laurel wreath depicted on a Roman emperor on coins.
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  12. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Probably, but the laurel as part of an ornate head-gear goes on to the end of the 4th century at the Eastern mints.
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  13. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    322 AD
    Obv: CRISPVS NOB CAES, bust r.
    Rev: CAESARVM NOSTRORVM around wreath containing VOT X
    Size: 18.95 mm
    Weight: 2.8 grams
  14. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

    Do we know why the emperors suddenly decided to leave laureates and use pearl diadem instead?
  15. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    The OP suggests that it was because of the pagan connotations of the laurel wreath.
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  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    This is probably my latest coin with a laureate bust:

    Delmatius Caesar (nephew of Constantine I), Billon reduced Centenionalis, Antioch Mint (10th Officina), 335-337 AD. Obv. Laureate and cuirassed bust right, FL DELMA-TIVS NOB C / Rev. Two helmeted soldiers, standing facing one another, reversed spears in outer hands, inner hands on shields resting on ground, one standard between them, GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS; in exergue, SMANI [Antioch, 10th Officina]. RIC VII Antioch 112, p. 697; Sear RCV IV 16901; Cohen 4. 15x16 mm., 1.7 g.

    Delmatius jpg version.jpg
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  17. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    Here's a Constans post-Constantine with a laurette bust:
    Constans Aquileia RIC VIII 14
    337-340 ad
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  18. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The laurel crown is pretty clear on this one:

    Vetranio AD 350
    Roman AE maiorina; 4.77 g, 24mm
    Siscia, AD 350
    Obv: D N VETRA-NIO P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; A to left
    Rev: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Vetranio standing left, holding labarum in each hand; star above; A to left; in exergue: •ΓSIS✷
    Refs: RIC 281; LRBC 1168; Cohen 1; RCV 18903.
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  19. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    And possibly the best-looking Delmatius I have seen. Wonderful portrait.
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  20. Alegandron

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

    LAUREATE - Later one...

    350 CE.

    AE3 17mm 1.78g (F)
    AV: DN VETRA - NIO PF AVG; laureate, draped cuirassed bust r.
    REV: GLORIA RO - MANORVM; Emperor standing facing holding standard and spear.
    EXE: gamma SIS Siscia mint.
    REF: RIC VIII Siscia 294, scarce,
    One of the scarcer types for Vetranio.
    Ex: @seth77
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
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  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you! All due credit should go to our own @Victor_Clark, from whom I bought the coin, for making such a nice coin available.
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