So I was walking towards the grocey store ...

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Limes, Jul 5, 2020.

  1. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    ... when some agressive looking guy yelled "Hey! Who are you looking at?!"

    So, a bit scared and hoping to avoid trouble, I immediately changed my viewing direction, gazing towards the heaven(s) and quickly went my way.


    Phew, that was a close one!

    Some context: I went through some of my coin images trying to tweek them, and got to this one: one of my favorite coins. The 'heavenly gaze' of Constatine may imply that his behaviour on Earth is governed by the Christian God, or - also because of his portrait with diadeem - refer to a monarchical tradition taken over from the Hellenistic rulers of the East. Nevertheless, a portrait style that is very different from earlier portraits and thus on itself interesting.

    Show your 'close one' coins, Constantine 'gaze' coins, or whatever you want to show.

    (In these grave times, we all could use a laugh now and then, right?? So please, keep it fun!!)
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  3. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    Many years ago, when I was a wise guy, I was walking to the store and a guy yells, "What you looking at buddy?" I replied, "Someone who might be looking up at me from the ground." He took a swing at me, so I put him on the ground.
  4. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    In your description, you have palm branch in each hand, which is the RIC description; but if you look closely you will note that the branches are different. It seems more like a palm branch in left hand and laurel branch in right hand.
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  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Amen-Ra-Hotep

    I don't have any "gazing at the heavens" portraits. Need to add one or two to my collection.
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  6. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Nice one!

    Mine has that funny glossy black patina that looks lovely in hand, but is darn near impossible to photograph properly - the patina buildup around the reverse devices doesn't look quite as distracting.
    Constantine constantiniana dafne eyes to heaven.jpg

    Extra fascinating is that nearly a thousand years later, the Artuqid leader Qutb al din il Gazhi II found one of these coins, and decided to use it himself
    Artuqid Dirham Qutb al din Il Gazi ii 1176 AD Constantine eyes to heaven.jpg
  7. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    Remember though, that the Constantine type was likely inspired by Alexander the Great coins.
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  8. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    I think you are on to something. Surely the Romans in the 3rd/4th century were familiar with Alexandrine and Seleucid tetradrachm portraits and may have used them as a basis for the "eyes to heaven" series.
    Note the eyes to heaven stare of Antiochus I on this coin.

    Antiochus II Theos Tetradrachm
    Struck 261-246 BCE at Seleucia on the Tigris
    16.87 grams
    28mm in diameter.
    Obverse depicts Antiochus II's father, Antiochus I Soter.
  9. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks Victor_Clark. It seems so, indeed. The more clear examples show this better. In the right hand of the victory, the leafs seem to be attached on a stick, and the upper end. In the left hand, the leafs seem to be from top to bottom on the branch. The leafs look different too.

    For example, CNG, 2007:
    Constantine I eyes raised_CNG_2007.jpg
  10. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Hilarious story @Limes and nice Con man
    Great point!
    share1477686771446943734.png 20190326_140125_5CCAFDA4-7F83-4C1E-B272-325191995DC3-406-000000AF818F6F98.png
  11. Alegandron

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

    NO Eyes Up...

    RI Fausta 325-326 CE AE3 Spes stdg 2 infants SMHA 20mm 3.48g scratch over eye was declared damnatio memoriae by Constantine
  12. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Same style portrait of Constantine I with a different reverse:
    Heraclea mint, A.D. 327-329
    RIC 92
    Rev: D N CONSTANTINI MAX AVG - Laurel wreath enclosing VOT/XXX
    •SMHA in exergue
    19 mm, 2.9 g.
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    At some point some numismatic scholar decided that these coins were 'eyes to heaven'. Rotating the coin a bit clockwise puts the eyes forward but shows the head in a dynamic, forward progressive pose rather than the static upright, normal alignment. It would be nice to know whether Constantine looked at one of these coins and how he 'read' it.
  14. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    I totally agree Doug ... but you have to admit they're different and interesting, at least numismatically.

    These types even made it to Byzantine times. Here's one of Justin I:
    Justin Follis Cross.jpg
  15. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    Actually it was decided before then, at least according to Eusebius--

    "How deeply his soul was impressed by the power of divine faith may be understood from the circumstance that he directed his likeness to be stamped on the golden coin of the empire with eyes uplifted as in the posture of prayer to God: and this money became current throughout the Roman world." Eusebius (IV.15)
  16. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Same as the OP coin. One of my favorite LRBs, for both the 'Eyes to Heaven' obverse portrait and the interesting reverse type.

    Constantine - Constantiniana Dafne Eyes to Heaven.jpg
    AE3. 3.12g, 20mm. Constantinople mint, AD 328. RIC VII Constantinople 32. O: CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, rosette-diademed head of Constantine right, looking up to the heavens. R: CONSTANTINI-ANA DAFNE, Victory seated left on cippus, palm branch in left hand and laurel branch in right hand, looking right, spurning a captive kneeling left with head turned right; a shield at her foot and a trophy before her; gamma in left field, CONS in exergue.
  17. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    That does make it sound correct. I can't vouch for everything in Eusebius but this does make sense unless it was inspired by Alexander the Great and interpreted in a Christian manner by Eusebius.
  18. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    Edited Quote from other member

    Never needed a weapon back in the day and most people avoided getting into a confrontation with me because of my size.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2020
  19. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    Be careful of quoting something against the rules, just report it please.
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  20. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Some lovely coins shown, thanks! That no eyes type is particularly creepy @Alegandron!

    Thanks for your insights Dougsmit. When it comes to 'sources', I'm dependent on online sources mostly. I have some books, but not on this matter. So I have to do with the parts of books that google books gives me, for example, on this topic. Its an interesting part of the book by Jonathan Bardill, Constantine, Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age. The writer too argues that the iconography was derived from Alexander the Great.

    On a different matter. I just realized I wrote 'grocey' store in the topic. A translation mistake, missing the 'r'. Or perhaps Im becoming a bit dyslectic. I dont know. Luckily grocey it not some kind of nasty word... !
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  21. Alegandron

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

    Thank you. Yes, it is purdy creepy. I got it because of that. Sometimes folks will say that they may not be damnatios, however, there is a definite sentiment by the person transacting the coin to deface it.
    Limes likes this.
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