The end of the Roman Empire!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Loong Siew, Jan 18, 2023.

  1. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Fall and End of the Roman Empire!


    Odoacer. 476-491. King of Italy. Medialum (Milan), Italy. Silver Half siliqua. 0.76g. Choice VF to EF. Extremely rare.

    Obv: Bust of Byzantine Emperor Zeno. "N Zeno Perp Avg"

    Rev: Eagle with spread wings beneath cross.

    An extremely rare silver half siliqua issued by Odoacer in the name of Emperor Zeno. Odoacer was a Teutonic Germanic "barbarian" leader who overthrew the last Roman Emperor Augustus Romulus in September 476AD. Whilst Rome was already severely weakened by years of internal decline and invasions from foreign barbarians such as the Vandals and Goths, it was until the proclamation of Odoacer as King of Italy and his deposition of Romulus which officially ended the Roman Empire to the west. This was one of Western History's most significant events which heralded the medieval period and the dark ages in Europe.

    As King of Italy, he symbolically claimed allegiance to then Emperor Zeno in the East and obtained support of the Roman Senate. However he ruled pretty much independently and autonomously in his Kingdom of Italy which were once the heartland of Rome. Eventually Zeno saw him as a rival and plotted with the Ostrogoths under Theoderic to defeat Odoacer. Theoderics army delivered many victories against Odoacer. Odoacer was eventually killed by Theoderic himself during an assassination plot where Odoacer was deceived to a truce banquet with Theoderic.

    Coins issued by Odoacer are very rare. Surprisingly, his silver coinage such as this siliqua are significantly rarer than gold issues. Except for 1 unique specimen now held in the British museum, all coins were issued under the name of Zeno or his monogram.
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  3. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    Fantastic, fabulous, vorzüglich !!! and extremely rare. Much rarer than gold solidi or tremisses, but this is normal for the period.

    I know that the deposition of Romulus Augustus by Odoacer in 476 is traditionally considered the last day of Antiquity and the first day of the Middle Ages - why not? But it's significant for modern Western Europe only. East of Italy it is a different periodisation, Antiquity ends with the coming of Islam (the Hijrah of Muhammad in 622, or the first Arabo-Muslim invasion of Syria in 634).

    Can the deposition of Romulus Augustus be called "end of the Roman Empire"? The emperor Zeno would have asked "But what kind of emperor am I ?". In Odoacer's mind the Roman Empire, divided by Arcadius and Honorius, was reunified under Zeno's formal authority. The Roman Empire lasted until 1453. Western historians have called it "Byzantine" since the 17th c. but in the Middle Ages everybody in Orient called it Roman. In Greek the emperor was called "Basileus Romaion" and in Persian the "Kaysar" of "Rum". In the 18th c. Edward Gibbon included the medieval period in his "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"...
  4. Abramthegreat

    Abramthegreat Well-Known Member

    The end of the Roman Empire!
    So soon? Just kidding, great coin!
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  5. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much:))). You are right that this is very much debatable since the Eastern Roman Empire (aka Byzantine) still stands.. But I merely quote or subscribed to the widely regarded association of the Western Roman Empire (i.e. western European part) as the more representative part of the empire. I should perhaps one day try to own and post the FULL END of the Roman Empire with the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks..
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  6. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot :cat:.. Technically from a Western and European POV.. Hence when Charlemagne reunified much of Europe he crowned himself and was recognised by the Papacy as the Holy Roman Emperor..
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  7. marchal steel

    marchal steel Active Member

    Beautiful coin Mr. Loong!
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  8. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much.. I hoped the forum would like it given it's history.. I see many strong enthusiasts on Roman and Greek numismatics here
    AdamL likes this.
  9. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    here's my coin of's rough but the monogram is fairly legible.


    Æ Nummus (0.61g 10mm) Ravenna
    [ODOVA] bust right / ODOVA monogram within wreath.
    RIC 3502; MEC 64; BMC Vandals p. 45, 10-11.
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  10. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Very nice.. thanks for sharing
  11. Gallienus


    Beautiful half-siliqua of Odoacer. I should try to look for one. There has in recent time, perhaps the past 5 or 10 years, been a lot of interest in the end of the Roman Empire. There have been a lot of books also printed addressing this subject. Not the least is Peter Heather's book: The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. I myself have been on an "End of the Western Roman Empire" binge for longer than this.

    Here's one result of this:

    Western Roman Empire
    Julius Nepos, 1st reign of 474-475 AD
    gold tremissis {1/3 solidus}

    Julius Nepos was the penultimate {next to last} Roman Emperor of the West. He was the last "legitimate" Roman Emperor, recognized by both the West and the East as Romulus Augustus was not recognized - by the East I believe.

    This is a problem-free (aside from a little circulation) example I bought from Ed Waddell some years ago.

    Attached Files:

  12. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member

    Call me old school but I don't buy into the "Roman Empire through the fall of Constantinople" crowd. For one, the Eastern provinces never fully assimilated into the Roman fold. Despite appearing to us through the lens of time as being equivalent to a country to the Romans themselves the "real" Romans were in the West and on the other side were the Greeks (and to the south the Africans).

    The Byzantine rulers kept the titles and to a certain extent the legal framework of their ancient colonists because it was politically expedient (as it always is when it comes to dynasties). However, as a people they were through and through their own distinct culture and would have regarded actual Rome-born, Latin-speaking Romans as foreign to them as Egyptians or Persians.

    The closest modern analogy I can think of would be something like Puerto Rico or Samoa; nominally part of America and whose inhabitants are US citizens but most of whom would find being called an "American" as comical, if not insulting.

    I think the whole effort to rebrand the Byzantines as ordinary Romans is done either out of a Romantic notion to lend further grandeur to this civilization we're all so fond of or pedantic historical revisionism based on technicalities or, worse, a misguided attempt at political correctness in the flawed view that somehow being termed 'Byzantine' is a pejorative. None of these are compelling arguments.

  13. Gallienus


    Some people like Greco-Roman, or as it's now called, Byzantine history. One point adding weight to your view is that soon after the fall of the West, the Byzantine Empire declined sharply.

    According to wiki:
    The Byzantine Empire experienced several cycles of growth and decay over the course of nearly a thousand years, including major losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century.

    They also have a changing map which shows the change of territory with time. I was thinking of doing similar to my timeline of Ancient Civilizations issuing Coins and think I can do a better job programming the changes with javascript.
  14. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    Wow!! incredible condition..literally mint state
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  15. Gallienus


    I presume you mean the Odoacer half-siliqua?
    Ed sold me the Julius Nepos tremissis as good VF.
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  16. Loong Siew

    Loong Siew Well-Known Member

    I was referring to the Nepos gold. I see a strong lustre and prominent strike lines on it.. For a gold coin of that age, it is in extraordinary condition
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  17. Gallienus


    Thanks. CNG has a big auction filled with hundreds of low-value Muslem gold coins struck in the 7th to 11 th centuries AD. These are uniformly of no design, but just Arabic lettering made for centuries.

    Think of all the wonderful Roman aurei, solidii, and tremissises they must've melted down to make all that stuff.

    Soon after this coin was made the Roman Empire ceased to exist. I wonder if someone saved it as a momento or it ended up in a jar of gold or got lost somewheres?
  18. AussieCollector

    AussieCollector Moderator Moderator

    Absolutely beautiful coin! You must have paid a pretty penny.

    But it ain't the end of the Empire ;)

    Speaking of which...

    Hey Rasiel, long time no see. Great to hear from you.

    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. Firstly, it's not re-branding, it's actually correcting. Contemporaneously, they were Romans. They were the legal and ongoing continuation of the eastern half of the Empire. Secondly, if we're talking re-branding, that's exactly what Byzantine is. They were never Byzantine, until about 100 years after the fall to the Ottomans.

    I call them Roman not out of revisionism (which as stated above, is exactly what Byzantine is), nor out of some sort of romantic view (it's just historical fact), nor political correctness (I'm not one to fuss too much about that) - but because it is the factually correct term to use. Goodness knows why Byzantine was invented (probably as some sort of West/Christian face saving thing at the time).

    Re this part:

    "The closest modern analogy I can think of would be something like Puerto Rico or Samoa; nominally part of America and whose inhabitants are US citizens but most of whom would find being called an "American" as comical, if not insulting."

    I would say it would be more like if the US invaded and occupied Canada for almost 500 years, with massive cultural and people exchange, and then the US decided to move its capital to Canada, with this new capital then being the capital of the entirety of North America for another 200 years, before Washington fell to a foreign state, and then the US/Canadians continuing to call themselves the USA.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2023
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  19. Cherd

    Cherd Junior Member Supporter

    I also kinda have my own take on the subject. I see the "Fall of the Roman Empire" as having occurred in incremental phases:

    Augustus-Severus Alexander: Empire proper
    Thrax-Diocletian: Shambled remnants of Empire
    Constantine-Theodosius: Major shift in religion and power
    Post Theodosius: Rome only in name and institution structure

    The true end of the Empire occurred when a significant share of power was shifted toward the Christian Church. The decent into theocracy ended the social, cultural, and technological progression that I associate with the Empire proper, and instead brought about 1000 years of stagnation and regression on those fronts. The "West" that fell shortly thereafter, and "East" that fell eventually were simply the decomposed remnants of what had once been the Roman Empire.

    Thank goodness for the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment!!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2023
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  20. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    View attachment 1541516

    This is a very nice specimen of a rare issue. The Latin name of Milan should be corrected to Mediolanum.

    The obverse legend is:

    "DN ZENO PERP NC" The NC is probably a degenerated AVG, but still it reads NC.
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  21. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Here are two examples from my collection:

    galba.PNG Screenshot 2023-01-04 at 19.34.39.png
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