Featured The Last of the Romans

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Magnus Maximus, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    "The air was filled with blood and smoke. The Roman Empire was divided, from the pillars of Hercules to the far reaches of the Adriatic, the Western Roman Empire stretched. Sacred earth where men of greatness conquered, but those who followed neglected Rome..."
    This was the situation the new Emperor of the west found himself in 395 CE, the Western Empire was in tatters, much of her army lay dead on the river banks of the Frigidus, her economy was ruined by the overburden of state taxes, and her borders were teaming with barbarian migrants. The Emperor was about ten years old so power rested in a small circle of advisors, the most prominent of which was a half Vandal-half Roman general named Stilicho. Theodosius I's corspe was not yet cold in the ground when major problems began to spring up; King Alaric of the visigoth tribe had broken the treaty that the goths has signed with Theodosius I way back in 381 to remain on Roman land in exchange for supplying men to fight in the legions. The goths soon went amok in the middle Empire and Stilicho led the still mobilized and battered Western legions against them in Pannonia and Thrace. The Romans fought numerous pitched battles and inflicted heavy casualties on the barbarians, though none were decisive and Alaric lived to fight another day. The Eastern court, also led by a german, did not take kindly to Stillicho marching around in Macedonia and ordered him to stay in his own territory or risk open war. Stillicho complied and returned to Mediolanum( Milan) in 397. The following year it was reported that Stillicho left Italy for Britannia to help defend it against scottish and saxon incursions. We know almost nothing of the affair and our only sources are a few lines from two panegyrics written by the Western court Poet, Claudian- "the Saxon conquered, the Ocean calmed, the Pict broken, and Britain secure." If true then Stilicho's campaign would be the last time that the western court would see Britannia as a priority; Imperial rule would end in Roman Britain a decade later. In 402 while Stilicho and the main contingent of the Western Army were away dealing with barbarian raiders, Alaric and his goths invaded Italy. Emperor Honorius was caught of guard by the quick advance of the barbarians in northern Italy and fled the capital with the intention of reaching Arles, unfortunately he discovered that the visigoths had blocked the alpine pass to gaul. The court of Honorius panicked and rushed to the nearest fortified city with the visigoths hot on their tails. When Stillicho heard that the Western Roman Emperor was being besieged by goths in a small Italian town, he ordered most Western Comitatenses (field armies) to follow him down into Italy and crush the goths. Stilicho found the goths besieging the hapless Emperor and fell upon them, many escaped and regrouped at Pollentia. Stilicho and Alaric fought two more costly battles though the results of these engagements were more decisive, Alaric fled Italy without his wife and many of his german brethren. Shortly after peace was made with the visigoths and Alaric was left in the balkans to heal his wounds, while Stilicho looked to the crumbling defenses in the West. Also worthy of mention is that during this interlude Stillicho moved the capital of the Western Roman empire from Mediolanum to Ravenna in response to how easily the barbarians had overrun northern Italy.
    In 405 a massive barbarian army led by Radagaisus invaded Italy, Stilicho is reported to have stripped the Rhine frontier of most combat units, enrolled slaves in the army, and asked the suebians and huns for troops, to crush the hoard. All in all his mixed force numbered around 30,000 troops, a mere shadow of the West's former glory. Stilicho's motley army fell upon the numerically superior barbarian confederation at Florence and mauled them. Claudian reports that 1/3rd of the barbarian army was exterminated while many others were sold into slavery, Claudian goes on to say that the number of barbarian slaves were so numerous that the slave market collapsed! After the campaign Stilicho and Honorius celebrated a magnificent triumph in Rome, it was to be the last one of its kind as events in the West would soon go from bad to worse.
    Most of you know how this story ends so I'll stop here and let Stilicho enjoy the fruits of his labour in Rome.
    Now for the coins!
    I probably won't purchase any more coins until the summer do to the large expenditures of these, but in my opinion it's worth it.

    Honorius AR Siliqua
    Honorius. 393-423 AD. AR Siliqua (18mm, 1.34g). Struck 395-408 AD. Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right / VOT / X / MVLT / XX in four lines; all within wreath; CONS. (mint of Constantinople). RIC IX, pg 235, #87c. Good Fine, toned
    Interestingly enough this particular issue was struck by Honorius's older brother in Constantinople, that must explain why these are so scarce! s-l1600-5.jpg

    Magnus Maximus AE-4
    Magnus Maximus Æ4. Arles, A.D. 383-388. (13mm, 1.01g) DN MAG MAXIMVS PF AVG, Diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right. / SPES ROMANORVM, Campgates with two turrets. RIC IX 29a.
    I picked this beauty up for $9 USD, not bad eh? I am certain that the patches of dull green on the reverse are not BD so I am a happy camper.

    Constantius II Siliqua
    Silver Siliqua 17mm (1.91 grams) Arles mint: 355-360 A.D.
    Reference: RIC 261; C 343
    D N CONSTAN - TIVS P F AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
    VOTIS / XXX / MVLTIS / XXXX, within laurel wreath; below, PCON.
    I'll admit that this one was an accident! I purchased this coin while intoxicated a few nights ago, moral of the story: stay the hell away from Ebay while drunk!! Not a bad coin though, perhaps it's clipped, I don't know but at least it is nice to look at!
    Stilicho stands to the right and to the left his wife Serena and son Eucherius.

    Honorius in military attire.

    The Vandal who Saved Rome by Ian Hughes
    Legions of Rome: The Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion by Steven Dando-Collins

    All in all not a bad lot of coins for my birthday!
    Please post any coins that you think are relevant.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
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  3. Theodosius

    Theodosius Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Great story and write up!
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Pretty Constantius II, MM. And I do love the ratty campgates of this later period. On your coin, the lines of the layers on the right are extending right past the wall of the campgate. The engraver was definitely drunk.
    Pellinore and Magnus Maximus like this.
  5. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Probably an ancestor! I still can't believe I blew $200 on that CII Siliqua! Man I'm an idiot :depressed:
  6. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    WOW Mag-Max, three sweet new winners (very nice) ...

    => oh, and thanks for the reading material (interesting)

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  7. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago Supporter

    I think the C II siliqua is quite attractive and the price seems basically in line with the market. I think you have a wonderful group of coins and your write-up is both interesting and informative as usual. My feeble attempts at historical prose has people rolling their eyes and screaming 'Not another boring history lesson' LOL

    I'll throw a few coins to the thread-----Magnus Maximus and C II and a siliqua of Honorius: DSCF0525.JPG DSCF0526.JPG
    Maganus Maximus A-E 4 campgates obverse.jpg Magnus Maximus, campgates AE-4.jpg constantius II reverse with emp on boat.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  8. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Thanks for the kind words guys.
    I probably won't respond for the next few hours, I'm going for a 10k run then some family and I are heading to a nice sea food restaurant to celebrate this suckers B-day.
    Love you guys!
  9. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Great coins MM. Thanks also for the very informative writeup.
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  10. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Very interesting writeup MM
    My only Honorius is a siliqua, the regular type from Mediolanum I'm afraid
    Do you guys have hard time finding decent AE2s of his too ? There are loads of them for Theodosius and Arcadius, but a decent one of honorius seems tricky to find (maybe just me)

    Honorius, Siliqua Mediolanum mint, 2nd officina
    DN HONORIVS PF AVG, diademed draped and cuirassed bust right
    VIRTVS RO - MANORVM, Roma seated left, holding victory and sceptre, MDPS at exergue
    2.09 gr
    Ref : Cohen # 59, Roman coins # 4250

    TJC, Pishpash, Magnus Maximus and 9 others like this.
  11. WDF

    WDF Its all about history

    Great write up MM. The coins are really nice.
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  12. Alegandron

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

    Fantastic write-up MagMax! I enjoy your historical time capsules.

    As to the coins, they are perfect placemarkers for the History. And as to their price? Hey, a couple drunken stupors will cost the same as the coin. You may forget about the stupors, but you HAVE the Siliqua and the memories surrounding it!
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  13. Alegandron

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

    @Magnus Maximus it is really cool how you love the histories towards the end of the Empire, and I enjoy the histories at the beginning of the Empire.
    Magnus Maximus and Mikey Zee like this.
  14. Topcat7

    Topcat7 Still Learning

  15. Alegandron

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

    Happy Birthday. You are now legal. All responsibilities fall on you. :D
    Magnus Maximus and Mikey Zee like this.
  16. Herberto

    Herberto Well-Known Member

    I have actually the same type of Constantius II just more soapy.


    3,00gram and 19mm

    The reference number is RIC 261 and 291. But I see a difference in the “strings” behind the hair: mine has 3 while MM’s has 2. – Mine 3 are also more straight, while MM’s 2 are twisted. The clothes also looks a bit difference – If anyone knows something please say so as I am more a Byzantine collector.

    Theodosius I:

    Obverse: DN THEODOSIVS PF AVG (Our Lord Theodosius Emperor for eternity)

    Reverse: VICTORI A AVGGG (Victory for the Emperors)

    Mint: ASIS (siscia)

    RIC 39(b)

    That one is just as small as a pentanummi which is the smallest denomination of Byzantine coins after Anastasius' monetary reform. That nummis is only 1,4cm, that is somehow the little fingers nail.

    Theodosius II, solidus:

    4,44gram and 21mm, RIC 257

    Obverse: DN THEODOSIVS PF AVG (Our Lord Theodosius Emperor for the eternity)

    Reverse: VOTXXX MYLTXXXXN – comments: It should imply something like Vota Myltis Annos, the message was somehow “(may the Emperor) live for many years”

    Note the crack in the upper part of the obverse.

    In my precious metal tray I had a siliqua of Constantius II (337-361) and a solidus of Justinian (527-565). As the time went on I wanted an emperor between that timeline in a time when both west and east empires were there. Thedosius II was certainly not a great emperor, but during his time the Western Roman Empire existed, and it was during his time that the Theodosian Walls was constructed which held off Goths, Huns, Slavs, Avars, Persians, Arabs, Bulgars and Turks for over 1000 years until the Chinese people invented the gunpowder.

    Also the reverse side where the Constantinopolis is seated with the helm, shield and spears alongside the globus made me to bide on it instead of a Zeno.
  17. Topcat7

    Topcat7 Still Learning

    A great 'write-up', (as always), M.M. I do enjoy getting my history lesson from you.
    As Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac) says "You make (learnin') fun."
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  18. swamp yankee

    swamp yankee Well-Known Member

    Sounds a lot like current days here almost,yes?
    Magnus Maximus and Mikey Zee like this.
  19. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    awesome MM, two more sweet silquae and a nice 9 buck bargain bin coin to to boot!

    that constantius ii is lovely....compared to some of the things on my "i shouldn't have done that while drinking last night" list....that's a WIN.

    nice book report as usual! :)

    happy B Day!
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  20. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Happy 21st birthday, Mag-Max ... that's a fun age (buy yourself a Volkswagen van and sell weed ... that's all of the fatherly advice I have)
    Magnus Maximus and Mikey Zee like this.
  21. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum

    Happy B day MM. Twenty-one? Doug has underwear older than that. Come to think about it, so do I. Enjoy your youth. It fades away much too quick.
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