Roman empire: silver siliqua of Julian II, ca. 360-363 AD; found in 1887 in the East Harptree Hoard

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by lordmarcovan, Jul 14, 2020.


How interesting/appealing do you find this coin, whether or not you're an expert? (1=worst, 10=best)

  1. 10

    6 vote(s)
  2. 9

    6 vote(s)
  3. 8

    13 vote(s)
  4. 7

    12 vote(s)
  5. 6

    2 vote(s)
  6. 5

    3 vote(s)
  7. 4

    0 vote(s)
  8. 3

    3 vote(s)
  9. 2

    0 vote(s)
  10. 1

    0 vote(s)
  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Roman empire: silver siliqua of Julian II, ca. 360-363 AD; found in 1887 in the East Harptree Hoard
    Obverse: DN FL CL IVLI-ANVS PF AVG; draped, cuirassed. and pearl-diademed bust right.
    Reverse: VOTIS/X/MVLT/XX in wreath with medallion in center containing eagle; TCONST mintmark in exergue.
    Issuer: Julian II ("the Apostate"), Roman emperor (361-363 AD).
    Specifications: Silver siliqua, 17 mm, 1.98 g. Struck at Arelate (now Arles, France- which was named Constantina at the time, hence the "TCONST" mintmark).
    Grade: Very Fine, toned.
    Reference: Arles RIC-309, T.
    Provenance: ex-Gert Boersema Ancient Coins, Hasselt, Netherlands, via VCoins store, 12 July 2020.*
    Notes: This coin was found in 1887 with a hoard of 1,496 pieces in the village of East Harptree, Somerset, England. A laborer named William Currell was digging to find the source of a spring when his pick struck the vessel containing the coins. Subsequent research indicates the hoard was deposited sometime around 375 AD. It included 718 coins of Julian II. This emperor earned his nickname "The Apostate" because he attempted to reverse the Roman conversion to Christianity, and to revert to the traditional pagan religious practices. In the long term he was unsuccessful, however, and was destined to be the last non-Christian emperor. He died in the Battle of Samarra against the Sasanian Persians in 363 AD.
    Comments: I was already interested in acquiring a coin of Julian II, since I had been reading about the transition from paganism to Christianity. I also had never owned a siliqua before. Roman bronze coins of this era tend to be common, but these silver siliquae are generally rather scarce. The coin was appealing enough on its own merits, but with the addition of a well-documented hoard pedigree from over 130 years ago, I found it pretty much irresistible.
    Additional images

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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    This piece was already mentioned in @Al Kowsky's thread about East Harptree Hoard coins, but I have reposted it here to create its permanent writeup.

    Regarding my admittedly absurd poll: Perhaps I would have only been at an 8 or 9 on this coin without the hoard pedigree, but with it, I found the backstory fascinating enough that I had to vote 10. Naturally there is a bit of new-owner bias in there. Not everyone is similarly enchanted by the romance of buried hoards or shipwrecks or stuff like that, but I definitely am. The kid in me has never grown up in that regard, and never will.

    Here are some additional images.



  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    L.M., I gave your coin a 7 based on the many example I've seen from this hoard. The two coins I won wouldn't rate over 5. Your coin has an excellent portrait which should be expected from the Constantinople Mint, & the dies must have been fresh at the time of striking. The branch mint artwork for these coins is usually inferior.
  5. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    I gave it 9, because I'll be getting an East Harptree siliqua when I find one I like that fits budget, and this would be pretty close on the former. These coins are a fascinating view of the end of Roman Britain.

    I'm also sold on the romance of hoards, not least because it gives some context. (It's rather surprising to me now that most coins are sold without any idea of where they came from).

    I'm certainly more forgiving of appearance if a coin is from a hoard. It already has more character, so a few cracks and chips just add to its is obvious from the siliqua I have, from the Thruxton Hoard (found 2014, much less historical than East Harptree):

    upload_2020-7-14_13-51-24.png upload_2020-7-14_13-51-31.png

    Arcadius, siliqua, 392-395, Trier, DN ARCADI-VS PF AVG. VIRTVS RO-MANORVM Roma seated left on cuirass, holding Victory on globe and inverted spear.

    There were many hoards ending with coins of Arcadius and Honorius, because of the increased number of raids by Saxons, Picts and Scoti at that time (just after 400, when the Romans had abandoned Britain).
    seth77, galba68, ominus1 and 8 others like this.
  6. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Just fyi, the coin was minted in Arles (Arelatum), not in Constantinople: Arelatum was renamed Constantina in the 4th century AD. Don't let that TCONST mint mark fool you! See :

    Constantina - Arelatum (Arles, France)

    In 328 Arelatum (Arelate) was renamed Constantina in honor of Constantine II. After Constantine II was killed in 340, the name reverted to Arelatum, only to be changed again in 354 to Constantina by Constantius II. It retained that name, although the mintmark 'AR ' appeared on some of its coins even in the fifth century. Roman mint dates of operation: 313 - 475 A.D. Mintmarks: A, AR, ARL, CON, CONST, KON, KONSTAN.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
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  8. OutsiderSubtype

    OutsiderSubtype Active Member

    I voted 7. It's a really great portrait, but if I were going to get only one coin of Julian, I would want it to be one of the bulls that set off riots in Antioch.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Wow. The provenance is nearly as cool as the coin!
  10. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...Nope, the provenance was what tipped it to a 10 for me, too. And who among us hasn't been transfixed by news of the last, I don't know, half-dozen, phenomenal Anglo-Saxon and Viking hoards, found by detectorists? I don't think you need to apologize for Anything!
    galba68, Pellinore and lordmarcovan like this.
  11. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    I really like those bulls, too.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  12. Seated J

    Seated J New Member

    10. This coin has everything, provenance, strike, nice surfaces.
    +VGO.DVCKS and lordmarcovan like this.
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Seriously, I do not like the portrait style with the lips stuck way out past the mustache or the granular encrustations but the provenance is a plus. Mine shares the portrait style but I have no idea of where it was before I got it from Frank Robinson in 1991. Our coins are not die duplicates but the 'hand' seems to match well enough that I believe they were engraved by the same person.
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  14. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, Gert Boersema had a small number of East Harptree siliquas, I bought one too.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  15. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    The evolution of some mintmarks can be very confusing :confused:. I wonder how many contemporary Romans were aware of these changes o_O.
  16. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I bought a Harptree Hoard coin myself when I saw them hit the market. I am a sucker for Lugdunum so had to make it a Lugdunum coin.

    Julian II - AR Reduced

    Obv:– FL CL IVLIA-NVS P P AVG, Pearl diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev:– VOTIS V MVLTIS X, within wreath
    Minted in Lugdunum (//SLVG), Spring A.D. 360 - 26th June A.D. 363
    Reference:– RIC VIII Lugdunum 227

    17.26 mm. 2.0 gms. 0 degrees

    East Harptree Hoard, which was discovered near Bath in 1887. There were 36 coins of this type found in the hoard.

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  17. Alegandron

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

    I wonder how many contemporaries cared?
  18. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Supporter! Supporter

    Wow, I love how well struck that one is.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  19. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Hotwheelsearl started a pertinent subthread in Clavdivs's post, "Ancient Idiots: Ask the Experts Anything," relative the varying levels of literacy of "barbarous" (but often provincial) imitations of Roman coins. Valentinian ended the thread, up to now, with a concise summary of the primary dynamics involved.
    Especially with the imitations of 3rd and 4th century prototypes, you get eloquent evidence of how thin the veneer of literacy was, out in the provinces. It would be great to know more about what the literacy levels are likely to have been, however generally, from one century (and era) to another.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  20. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...Wait, didn't you, and Roman Collector, and probably some other people, have more to say in a related thread somewhere else, just over the past couple of days? Too lazy to find it. (Looked, just not hard enough.)
  21. Alegandron

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

    I do not focus on Empire coins. Most of my collection is BCE (The Republic and many of those States that interacted with the Republic.) I enjoy collecting Historically, and never really paying attention too much on mints, LRB’s, etc. I reckon I am a rebel, a pariah... a shiftless ne’er-do-well. :)
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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