Shogun's Sunday Silly - Qua's

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by IMP Shogun, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. IMP Shogun

    IMP Shogun Well-Known Member

    "Siliqua vicesima quarta pars solidi est, ab arbore, cuius semen est, vocabulum tenens."
    A siliqua is one-twentyfourth of a solidus [coin] and the name is taken from the seed of a tree.

    — Isidore of Seville, Etymologiarum libri XX, Liber XVI, 25

    Happy Sunday all -

    As we prepare to eat chicken wings and watch football (please make sure you put your coins away before going in for the buffalo...), I wanted to share a corner of my collection that I find appealing.

    Worth repeating - that we don't actually know what these coins were called but refer to them as siliqua or the fruits of a flowering plant. Weights and sizes were somewhat fluid for the coins we refer to as siliquae, and their relationship to the more ubiquitous bronze coins remains a mystery.

    The wheels fell off the bus of the empire in the late 4th century and the silver coins we loved from the earlier periods of the empire came back in a smaller, lighter, quickly manufactured version that looks more like early medieval currency (sceat) than it does Roman. Given the clipping, it does appear that many of these did circulate as such for quite some time after the Roman empire receded in the west.

    Great in-depth read about the use of clipped coin here for those that like details more than they like football:
    Clipped Siliquae and the End of Roman Britain on JSTOR

    From a collectors perspective these coins attract a premium particularly for unclipped coins.

    And the money shots:

    Classic VOTIS MVLTIS, a.k.a. praying for 10 more good years after 20 good years (I think we all would settle for even a good 2021!). Another thought is that more centrally controlled countries like China put forth a 10-year plan:
    Constantius II 337–361 A.D. siliqua RIC VIII 81 Wreath 351-355 Nicomedia
    SMN four lines within wreath. Mintmark SMN
    19mm 3.13g (yuge, might as well call this a denarius!)

    Valentinian II VOT - MVLT, demonstrating clipping and Arbogast's less ambitious goal of 5 yers of good times:
    Valentinian II 375–392 A.D. siliqua RIC IX 24a Wreath 378-383 Siscia
    Laureal wreath with mintmark SISCPS in exergue mostly clipped

    13.8mm 1.04g

    Gratian VRBS - ROMA:
    Gratian 375–383 A.D. siliqua RIC IX 27f Roma AR JA 367-368 Trier
    Roma seated left holding Victory on globe and scepter; Mintmark TRPS
    16mm 2.2g

    Honorius - VIRTVS ROMANORVM - Feels like something big will happen:
    Honorius 395–423 A.D. siliqua RIC X 1267 Roma 407-408 Rome
    Roma seated left on cuirass, holding spear and victory on globe; Mintmark RMPS
    19mm 1.62g

    Let's see your silly - quae on this fine Sunday (if you want to add a few sceattas nobody will be upset with you)
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    OBVERSE: FL CL IVLIA-NVS PP AVG, rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right
    REVERSE: VOTIS V MVLTIS X in four lines within wreath. Mintmark SLVG
    Struck at Lyons 360-363 A.D
    1.7g, 16mm
    RIC VIII Lyons 227 var (bust type); RSC 163b var (ditto); Sear 4071 var (ditto).
    zumbly, DonnaML, Limes and 11 others like this.
  4. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Nice coins @IMP Shogun .

    Here is my favorite siliqua with a provenance back to 1887.
    Roman Empire
    Julian II, AD 360-363
    AR Siliqua, Lugdunum mint, struck ca. AD 360-361
    Wt.: 2.23 g
    Dia.: 18 mm
    Obv.: FL CL IVLIA NVS P P AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev.: VICTORIA DD NN AVG, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm frond
    Ref.: LVG. RIC VIII 212; Lyon 259; RSC 58†c, IRBCH 1424
    Ex Harptree Hoard (1887)
    eparch, Pellinore, zumbly and 14 others like this.
  5. Alegandron

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

    Nice Siliquae, @IMP Shogun ...

    RI Valentinian II AD 375-392 AR Siliqua 18mm 1.8g Trier Victory wreath palm RIC IX 43
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  6. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Great post. They're interesting because they were minted at such a turbulent time - the clipping only adds to that. I have a few, some in better condition than others, but all found in Britain.

    Julian Siliqua, 360-363
    Lugdunum, 17mm, 1.90g. Ex Harptree Hoard (Somerset), buried c383 (RIC VIII 227-8).

    Valentinian II Siliqua, 378-383
    Siscia, 12mm, 0.9g (clipped). Found near Chew Magna, Bristol (Somerset) (RIC IX 24a).

    Arcadius Siliqua, 392-395
    Trier, 17mm, 1.3g. Ex. Thruxton Hoard (Hampshire), buried c402 (RIC IX 106b var). Seems to have been damaged by ploughing, like others in the hoard.

    Honorius Siliqua, 404-408
    Rome, 1.06g. Found in Cambridgeshire (RIC X 1267).

    I've added a sceatta as requested ;) The reverse seems to evoke the VOT type of siliqua. It's interesting that it's about the same size as my clipped siliqua (Valentinian II).

    Series C1 Primary Sceatta, 690-710
    Kent, 11.5mm, 1.27g (North 41).
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
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  7. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    I have just one siliqua, of Arcadius:
    zumbly, svessien, DonnaML and 7 others like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    This is my one and only. Thanks again, @IMP Shogun, for the link to the article on clipping, with the monetary connection to sceattas. --@John Conduitt, that transitional one is Fantastic. ...When this one showed up at the right price, with Just enough legend to make out Honorius and Milan, I thought I'd lucked out. ...I'd like a 5th-century Vandal AE to complement it. ...Yeah, to come clean, I like it as much for the early medieval as for the late Roman connotations.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
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  9. Alegandron

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

    Arcadius, AD 395-408
    AR Siliqua, 16mm, 1.1g, 12h.
    Obv.: DN ARCADI-VS PF AVG; Pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev.: VIRTVS RO-MANORVM; Roma seated left on cuirass, holding Victory on globe and reversed spear.

    Mint mart unclear ( Looks like the mint worker used his SHARPIE and wrote in "88" for the mint mark... :D )

    Comment: Collector's number code on reverse - "88" ?
    From the @dougsmit Collection, #2829
    Ex: @John Anthony
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
    Curtisimo, zumbly, svessien and 6 others like this.
  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I have three siliquae, one of which has the same 1887 East Harptree Hoard provenance that several others have posted in this thread:

    Julian II (nephew of Constantine I), AR Siliqua. 360-361 A.D, Arles [Constantina/Arelatum] Mint, 1st Officina. Obv. Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, DN IVLIAN-VS P F AVG / Rev. VOTIS/V/MVLTIS/X in four lines within wreath. In exergue: PCON [PRIMA CONSTANTINA = First officina in Arles]. RIC VIII Arles 295, RSC V 16, Sear RCV V 19132. 17 mm., 2.2 g.

    Julian II Siliqua jpg version 2.jpg

    Valens, AR Siliqua, 364-367 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. DN VALEN-S PF AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right / Rev. VOT- V- MV•LT - X in four lines within wreath. In exergue: Mintmark RB. RIC IX Rome 10c (p. 118), RSC V 91(h) (ill.), Sear RCV V 19687. 17 mm., 2.00 g. From 1887 East Harptree hoard (one of 19 coins of this type in hoard; see

    Valens siliqua jpg version 2.jpg Gratian, AR Siliqua, 368-375 AD, Trier Mint. Obv. Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, D N GRATIA-NVS P F AVG / Rev. Roma seated left on throne, holding Victory on globe in right hand, and scepter in left hand, VRBS ROMA; in exergue, TRPS• (Trier Mint; PS = pvsvlatvm, struck from refined silver). RIC IX 27f(1) at p. 19, RSC V 86a, Sear RCV V 19964. 17 mm., 2.0 g.

    Gratian AR siliqua Trier mint jpg version.jpg
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  11. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Jovinus, Western Roman Empire
    AR siliqua
    Obv: D N IOVIN-VS P F AVG, Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: VICTOR-IA AVGG, Roma seated left on stylized cuirass, holding Victory on globe and reversed spear
    Mint: Lugdunum
    Mintmark: SMLDV
    Date: 411-413 AD
    Ref: RIC X 1717


    Constantius II, Roman Empire
    AR siliqua
    Obv: D N CONSTAN-TIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: VOTIS XXX / MVLTIS XXXX, all within wreath
    Mint: Sirmium
    Mintmark: SIRM
    Date: 357-361 AD
    Ref: RIC VIII 15
    Size: 3.31 gr, 22 mm wide


    Theodahad, Ostrogothic Kingdom
    AR half-siliqua
    Obv: D N IVSTI-NIAN AC, diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right
    Rev: Monogram THEODAHATVS within wreath
    Mint: Ravenna
    Date: 534-536 AD
    Ref: Metlich 61; MIB 55b; Ranieri 287

  12. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @ValiantKnight, the one of Contantius II is putting my head in a different place than I'm used to being, as a collector.
    ...Which is to say, the esthetics, per se.
    (...Not really having the budget for that was, this much later, part of how I think I wound up being so deep into Medievals. Where conventional esthetics are concerned, the pressure's kind of off.)
    ...Except, in the case of your Constantius II, I'm stumped by how a coin can have such indifferent surfaces, if you look a second or longer, and still look so pristine --at which point, I second my own motion. That's really phenomenal. The detail looks that nearly as struck. ...As far as tooling, my guess would be that the flan would discourage people from doing such a thing. ...Right, along with smoothing!
  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Magnus Maximus - AR Siliqua ex Michael Kelly 3010.jpg MAGNUS MAXIMUS
    AR Siliqua. 2.06g, 16.8mm. Trier mint, AD 383-388. RIC IX 84b. O: D N MAG MAX-IMVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right. R: VIRTVS RO-MANORVM, Roma seated facing, head left, holding globe in right hand, scepter in left; TRPS in exergue.
    Ex Michael Kelly Collection
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