Nova Roma Commemorative

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by savitale, Sep 21, 2021.

  1. savitale

    savitale Well-Known Member

    With the intent of establishing a new capital of the Roman Empire, from 326 to 330 AD Constantine I undertook a great rebuilding of the ancient Greek city of Byzantion. At great expense he erected a new city wall encompassing a greater territory, constructed monumental architecture, installed great works of art, and enticed wealthy noblemen to move there by offering gifts of land. In 330 AD Constantine renamed it Nova Roma, and in 334 he issued a series of coins commemorating the establishment of his great new city while at the same time paying homage to the historical capital of the Empire, Rome itself. This is one of these coins.

    These “City Commemorative” coins seem to be quite popular. Though they are not rare this example is among the nicest I have seen. Somehow I feel like I can’t call myself a Roman Coin Collector without a Romulus and Remus She-Wolf in my collection.



    Here is the description from Roma:

    City Commemorative Æ 17mm. Struck under Constantine I. Siscia, AD 334-335. VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma to left, wearing imperial mantle / She-wolf standing to left, suckling Romulus and Remus, two stars above; •BSIS• in exergue. RIC VII 240 corr. (two stars above). 2.40g, 17mm, 7h.
    Inspector43, Fugio1, ominus1 and 25 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's an outstanding example of that coin -- well-struck and with fresh dies. Very handsome coin.

    I like the city commemoratives and have a couple dozen of them from various mints and struck on various size flan modules. Here's one of my better preserved VRBS ROMA with wolf types.

    Constantine I, AD 307-337.
    Roman billon reduced centenionalis, 2.44 g, 17.4 mm, 12 h.
    Constantina/Arles, AD 331-332.
    Obv: VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma, left, wearing imperial robes.
    Rev: Lupa Romana, left, suckling Romulus and Remus; branch between two stars above; SCONST in exergue.
    Refs: RIC vii p. 273, 368; RCV 16497; LRBC I 371; Cohen 17.

    At certain mints, they were also issued with the contemporaneous GLORIA EXERCITVS reverse type.

    Sons of Constantine I.
    Roman billion reduced centenionalis, 1.67 g, 15.5 mm.
    Heraclea, AD 337-340.
    Obv: VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma, left.
    Rev: GLORIA EXERCITVS, two soldiers holding one standard between them; SMHЄ in exergue.
    Refs: RIC viii, p. 431, 28; LRBC I, 941; RCV 16529.
  4. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    Nice coins! @savitale, the detail preserved on your coin is excellent!

    I like the Christogram and green patina on this example:


    Roman Imperial. Commemorative Series. 330-354 AD.
    Æ Follis (15mm, 1.29 g, 12h). Arelate (Arles) mint, 1st officina.
    Struck under Constantine I, AD 334.
    VRBS ROMA, Bust of Roma left wearing crested helmet and imperial mantle. / She-wolf standing left, head right, suckling the twins Romulus and Remus; above, Christogram (Chi-Rho) between two stars; PCONST in exergue.
    RIC VII 385; LRBC 403
  5. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Wow! That one is SHARP!

    I have one that @kazuma78 gave me. I’ve been told mine is a pretty nice example, too, but yours leaves it behind.

    Roma has a slight smile on mine, but looks more serious on yours.

  6. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great thread with beautifull URBS ROMA coins

  7. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Supporter! Supporter

    Wow, thats the sharpest VRBS Roma I think I've ever seen. Great pickup!
    savitale likes this.
  8. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I had a soft spot for these a few years ago and gathered a few... here is a small sample

  9. savitale

    savitale Well-Known Member

    What a great variety of she-wolves here! Some look fairly realistic with well rendered fur and a canine-like body. Others look like armadillos! I guess artistic skill was not a requirement for getting a job as a die engraver back then ...
  10. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Is this generally agreed upon? I was under the impression that there was still disagreement about whether they were contemporaneous or were minted during the three(?)-month period between Constantine's death and his sons' ascension to Augusti.
    savitale likes this.
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I'm not familiar enough with the data to answer this question. @Victor_Clark would be the one to know.
    savitale likes this.
  12. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Sharply struck type, very nice! Here's mine:
    CityComm Roma.png
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    A coin of 2.4g should have been made alongside the two standards coins. Constantine died after the weight reduction that brought us the one standards issues. I'm no expert so I'll be interested in Victor's answer.
    Mine is also 2.4g.
    Curtisimo, ominus1, savitale and 8 others like this.
  14. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    ominus1 and savitale like this.
  15. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    This thread has shown many excellent coins. I like the commemorative issues of the period and wrote a web page on them:

    There are examples of other, related, types on that page. Here is an interesting coin:

    This is a mule. Here the CONSTANTINOPOLIS obverse is combined with the wolf-and-twins reverse proper to the VRBS ROMA obverse.
    14 mm. 1.70 grams.
    This particular coin was published in SAN XI.2 (1980) page 37 as potentially official. Subsequently an expert on the issue, Pierre Bastien, saw it and told me he thought it was an imitation. It has good style and lettering, but he assured me this is not the official style of Lugdunum, in spite of the clear PLG mintmark of Lugdunum (see RIC page 140). Then this piece was cited in A Survey of Numismatic Research, 1978-1984, page 288. The existence of official mules of this period was the subject of several articles in SAN (VI,1 (1974), pages 8 and 15; VI.3 (1975) page 42; X.2 (1979) pages 20-21; X.4 (9179) page 60). After 30 years studying the matter, I think no mules of these types were intentionally issued, but I do not rule out a simple mint error in some cases.

    EDIT: I found a better photo of that coin:
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
  16. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    In 335/336 the number of coins per pound was changed from 132 to 196; which is why the GLORIA EXERCITVS coins go from two standards to one, as the flans were smaller. The VRBS ROMA and CONSTANTINOPOLI(S) paired with GLORIA EXERCITVS reverse were initially struck in A.D. 336 (in some Eastern mints only); while Constantine I was alive and the types continued after his death, maybe until around A.D. 340.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
  17. Heliodromus

    Heliodromus Well-Known Member

    Great coin!

    This is the type that got me started collecting LRB's about 18 years ago. I still have that first coin, below, although perhaps it deserves an upgrade.

    Vrbs Roma wolf Siscia 330-333 (RIC VII Siscia 222) 1st coin 11-2003.jpg

    Sad to say, but back then I recognized the "wolf & twins" motif, but knew nothing about the meaning/origin. I'd been on eBay, searching for electronics or some such, and randomly came across this coin and bought it since I thought it was neat this design went back so far! :rolleyes:

    I then started actually looking for Roman coins, and bought my 2nd one, this SOLI INVICTO a month later. This time I was surprised to see a Christian symbol (cross) together with a solar one, and after a little research I was hooked!

    Constantine I Sol SIC Ticinum 316-1 (cross+star, RIC VII Ticinum 43 R4) 2nd coin 12-2003 4.22g.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
  18. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I've got all three major VRBS ROMA reverse types. The wolf and twins is the most common, and my best example is below:
    Vrbs Roma RIC VII Alexandria 70A.JPG

    The VOT and soldiers reverses are a bit less common (not at all rare), but are often in absolute awful condition.

    This one has a decent strike but surfaces and flan are atrocious.
    Vrbs RIC VIII Heraclea 49 (2020_11_18 03_38_31 UTC).JPG

    This one is okay, if a bit undersized.
    Vrbs Roma RIC VII 156.JPG
  19. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    That is 2.4g and 1.7g on average. Obviously they did not weigh each flan on a three decimal place scale but I tend to think of any coin over 2g to be from the early group with lighter ones later. I am not fond of any dealer who sells the Commemoratives without providing a weight.

    So, what do I do with a coin weighing 2.0g? Punt? Due to the roughness, I'll say it is an early standard coin. I have at least a 50% chance of being right.
  20. Heliodromus

    Heliodromus Well-Known Member

    What's the evidence for these starting while Constantine was alive?
    savitale likes this.
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Wonderful coins, everyone!

    Mine is 2.4 g as well:

    Constantine I, Billon reduced Centenionalis, Trier Mint 330-331 AD. Obv. VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma left/ Rev. She-wolf stg. left suckling twins (Romulus & Remus), 2 stars above; TRP• [Trier, First officina] in exergue. RIC VII 529, Sear RCV IV 16487. 17 mm., 2.4 g. (Found by metal detecting in Wiltshire, England, 2014).

    COMBINED Constantine I VRBS ROMA.jpg
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page