Featured The Rise and Fall of Saloninus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter


    This Saloninus is my first purchase for three months, so I attempted a little biography
    using the recent German literature and showing the few Antoniniani that I have:

    Publius Licinius Cornelius Saloninus Valerianus was born ca. 248-250 AD as the second son of the future Emperor Gallienus and his wife Salonina.

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-27 um 07.11.32.png Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-27 um 07.15.15.png

    It is most likely that Gallienus as a Senator predominantly lived in Rome before his accession to the throne in 253 AD (Geiger, Gallienus, p.81), so we might assume the capital itself to be the most likely birthplace of Saloninus.

    The widely published birth year of ca. 242 AD (see Wikipedia et.al.) must be wrong. The only way to estimate the approximate age of Saloninus is by taking into account his surviving portraits. On his coins he is clearly pictured as a boy, comparable to the figure of Philip II, who had already been appointed Caesar at the age of seven, and not as the teenager he would have been in 258-260, had he been born in ca. 242.

    Both Caesars are represented on their coins approximately the same age, which for Saloninus suggests a similar age of the elevation to the rank of Caesar of at most ten years (Geiger, p.79).

    Saloninus had an older brother, also named Publius Licinius Cornelius Valerianus (the later Caesar Valerian II), who had been born in ca. 246-248, as can again be estimated from his coin portraits of the years 256-258, where he is shown as a boy approximately the same age as Saloninus.

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-27 um 06.50.08.png

    VALERIANVS CAES - Radiate and draped bust of Valerian II right /
    IOVI CRESCENTI - child Jupiter riding right on the goat Amalthea, looking left, right hand raised, left hand holding goat´s horn
    Antoninianus, Cologne late 256- early 258
    RIC 3, Göbl/MIR 907e, Elmer 67a, Sear 10731

    We can assume that Saloninus spent his childhood with his family in the capital or a nearby villa, until in early August 253 after the death of Emperor Treboninus Gallus at Interamna both Aemilianus and Saloninus grandfather Valerianus were simultanously acclaimed Emperor by their respective armies.

    If Saloninus and his family indeed lived in Rome prior to the coup of Aemilianus, we can assume that Gallienus had to flee to escape Aemilianus and his Italic followers during Valerian´s march on Rome. Gallienus probably went to his maternal relatives, the Egnatii, in the area of falerii novi north of rome on the left bank of the tiber (Geiger, P.82.)

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-27 um 07.02.39.png

    IMP AEMILIANVS PIVS FEL AVG - Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Aemilianus right with his right shoulder advanced
    PACI AVG - Pax standing facing, head left, legs crossed, holing olive-tranche and transverse scepter and resting on column
    Antoninianus, Rome August - October 253
    RIC 8, RSC 26, Hunter 13, Sear 9838

    It can not be ruled out that Saloninus's paternal grandmother, Mariniana, fell victim to Aemilianus. The consecration coins during the joint reign of her husband Valerianus and son Gallienus may indicate this, perhaps suggesting a recent death (Geiger, S.82).

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-27 um 07.21.23.png

    IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG - Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Valerian Senior right, seen from front /
    FELICITAS AVGG - Felicitas standing left, diademed and wearing tunica and palla, holding long caduceus in right and cornucopia in left hand, S C in exergue
    Sestertius, Rome ca. 255-258
    16,46 gr / 29,43 mm
    RIC 157, Cohen 58, Sear 10011, Banti 8 corr. (3 specimens)

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-27 um 07.26.13.png

    DIVAE MARINIANAE - Veiled, diademed bust of Mariniana to the right
    CONSECRATIO S C - Peacock standing facing
    Sestertius, Rome 253/54
    15,57 gr / 26 mm / 12 h
    RIC 9 corr, C 7

    After the downfall of Aemilianus in September 253, Gallienus was appointed Augustus and thereby co-ruler by his father Valerian.

    We can imagine young Saloninus living in the imperial palace and receiving the classical education an imperial prince would have enjoyed before the age of the soldier emperors.

    At the beginning of 254, the two Augusti began their first joint consulate in Rome and then set out: Valerian to Asia Minor on the Persian border, Gallienus to the Illyrian Danube.

    It can be assumed that the Empress Salonina like her predecessors led her own court (Geiger, p.81). I would suggest that in all likelyhood she would not have accompanied her husband on his military campaigns, at least during the early years of the reign, but have resided in Rome with her two young sons.

    In September of 256 the family reunited when Valerianus returned to Europe and Saloninus took part in the celebrations involving the elevation of his older brother Valerianus Junior to the rank of Caesar and when both Augusti personally started another consulate at Rome at the beginning of 257.

    Both Augusti visited Cologne in August 257. Gallienus had moved his headquarters from the Danube to the Rhine to face the Germanic tribes of the Alemanni and Franks who threatened the Roman Empire, which required the presence of the reigning Emperor in the endangered province.
    For this reason Gallienus closed the mint in Viminacium and reestablished it at Cologne in late 257 AD, which now recieved the honorary title Valeriana and Galliena, it´s official name now being Colonia Ara Agrippinensium Valeriana Galliena.

    They took the young Caesar Valerian II with them, leaving Saloninus with his mother at Rome. In the Fall of 257 Valerian had to leave for the east again, never to return.

    While Saloninus would never see his older brother again either, he was blessed with a younger brother when his mother gave birth go Gallienus third son, Licinius Egnatius Marinianus, in 258 (the date can be assumed on account of Fecunditas coins for Salonina; Geiger, p.78).

    Saloninus childhood came to an end when Valerian II died, probably of an illness, at the Danubian frontier (Glas, Valerian, p.153). On the message of the unexpected death of his son, Gallienus returned to Rome to oversee Valerian II´s consecration.

    In his place, young Saloninus was raised to the rank of Caesar in June, 258.
    The little Prince was at once introduced to his future responsibility for the cult of the state. Therefore coins were issued promoting the pietas of the dynasty including the illustration of sacrificial devices.

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-27 um 06.53.03.png

    SALON VALERIANVS CAES – Radiate and draped bust of Saloninus Caesar right
    PIETAS AVG – The emblems of the priestly colleges: lituus, knife, patera, jug, simplum and sprinkler
    Antoninianus, Cologne 258 AD
    3,40 gr / 22 mm
    RIC 9, RSC 41, Hunter 8, Göbl 914, Sear 10767

    Saloninus accompanied his father to Cologne. Of particular interest in this context is a small portrait bust in the Roman-Germanic Museum of the City of Cologne which was acquired in 1934 and was reported to have been found, in the north of the Roman Cologne. The singular masterpiece consists of opaque, azure glass. It shows the bust of a boy with full cheeks and a pronounced double chin. He is clothed in a richly embroidered garment, the toga contabulata, whose carefully arranged folds are laid almost board-like over the body. The exact function of the bust is unknown, but it may have served as an imperial gift.

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-10-26 um 09.15.05.jpg

    Bust of Saloninus an the Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne (inv.No. 157), blue glass, 8,3 cm

    The date of the bust was long disputed. Most recently, a largely convincing identification as Saloninus and thus a dating in the period 258-260 AD was suggested by comparisons with coin pictures. The glass bust would be the only surviving, round-plastic portrait of the unfortunate prince and an extremely valuable archaeological testimony to the political events of these years.

    In 259, the enemy incursions accumulated on the Rhine and on the upper Danube (Glass, p.155). The sources consistently report incursions by the Alemanni, who were able to penetrate as far as northern Italy (Glas, p.156).

    Gallienus had to counter the threat and lead a large army to Italy. The withdrawl of Gallienus and his troops from the Rhine to Italy on the news of the Alamannic threat in 259 resulted in increased incursions of Germans of the lower Rhine in this still restless region, although Gallienus had provided for his own representation by leaving his son in Cologne with his advisor Silvanus (Glass, p.159). But Saloninus was not yet able to secure it without his father (Glas, p. 155).

    As the military situation became more and more threatening in Lower Germany, the troops hailed their commander Postumus Augustus and besieged the left behind Saloninus in Cologne. Although the Prince in a desperate measure accepted the title of Augustus, he soon met a sad fate. In the autumn of 260, the people of Cologne delivered Saloninus to Postumus, who had him executed.

    - Michel Geiger: „Gallienus“ (2013), p.78-81
    - Toni Glas: „Valerian“ (2014), p.153-159
    - N. Franken: „Der Tod des Saloninus“ (https://museenkoeln.de/portal/bild-der-woche.aspx?bdw=2015_10).

    Please comment and show your coins of Saloninus and his family!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
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  3. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Excellent write-up and great Antoniniani @Julius Germanicus. I do not have any coins from Saloninus and his family, therefore I will show this Postumus.
    Postumus 260-269
    AR Antoninianus
    Struck 263 Trier
    4,75g / 22mm
    Ric 78
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  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    View attachment 1015596 View attachment 1015596
    J.G., Great article :D! I love that blue glass carving of the young prince :jawdrop:. The coin pictured below depicts his grandfather on the obverse & both father & grandfather on the reverse.
    IMG_8205 (2).JPG IMG_8214 (3).JPG
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
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  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Excellent write-up, @Julius Germanicus , and worthy of being featured! It certainly goes into much more depth than my old thread about the sons of Gallienus.

    Your new acquisition is hard to acquire in that state of preservation. It is, as sellers are fond of saying, "very nice for the issue." Usually, they have rather raggedy flans and are struck with worn dies.

    Here's the family tree:

    Grandpa Valerian I:
    Valerian I, AD 253-260.
    Roman AR antoninianus, 2.69 g, 21.2 mm, 7 h.
    Colonia Agrippina (Cologne) mint, AD 259-260.
    Obv: VALERIANVS·P·F·AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev: DEO VOLKANO, Vulcan standing left within tetrastyle temple, hammer raised in right hand, tongs downward in left.
    Refs: RIC 5 (inaccurately attributed to the Lugdunum mint); Cohen 2 (inaccurately attributed to Valerian II); RSC 50c; Göbl 884d; Hunter IV 56; RCV 9934.

    Grandma Mariniana:
    Mariniana, died AD 253, wife of Valerian and mother of Gallienus.
    Roman AR Antoninianus, 3.04 g, 23.5 mm, 5 h.
    Rome mint, AD 253-257.
    Obv: DIVAE MARINIANAE, veiled, draped bust r., on crescent.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, peacock standing facing, head l., tail in splendor.
    Refs: RIC 3; Cohen 3; RCV 10067; Temeryazev & Makarenko 560; Eauze Hoard-1318 (23 spec.); Cunetio Hoard-646 (22 spec.).

    Father Gallienus:
    Gallienus, AD 253-268.
    Roman billon antoninianus, 3.61 g, 21.1 mm, 12 h.
    Cologne, AD 257-258.
    Obv: GALLIENVS•P•F•AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: VIRTVS AVGG, Gallienus in military attire standing right, holding spear and standard.
    Refs: RIC 58F; Göbl 8821; Cohen 1309; RCV 10413; Hunter 58; ERIC II 1030.

    Mother Salonina:
    Cornelia Salonina, AD 253-268
    Roman silvered billon antoninianus, 4.10 gm, 21.3 mm, 12 h.
    Cologne, AD 257-59 (Joint reign).
    Obv: SALONINA AVG, diademed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: VENVS FELIX, Venus seated l., extending hand to child at feet; transverse scepter in left hand.
    Refs: RIC 7; Göbl 898c; Cohen 115; RCV 10655; Hunter 24.

    Older brother Valerian II:
    Valerian II, Caesar AD 256-258.
    Roman billon antoninianus, 3.14 g, 22.5 mm, 5 h.
    Cologne, AD 257-258.
    Obv: VALERIANVS CAES, radiate and draped bust, right.
    Rev: IOVI CRESCENTI, infant Jupiter seated facing on goat standing right, his right hand raised.
    Refs: RIC 3; Göbl 907e; Cohen 26; RCV 10731; Hunter 9.

    Saloninus himself:
    Saloninus, Caesar AD 258-260.
    Roman billon antoninianus, 2.39 g, 22.2 mm, 12 h.
    Cologne, AD 258-260.
    Obv: SALON VALERIANVS CAES, radiate and draped bust, right.
    Rev: PIETAS AVG, lituus, jug, simpulum and sprinkler.
    Refs: RIC 9; Göbl 914e; Cohen 41; RCV 10767; Cunetio 744; Hunter 8.

    NOTE: Some of the types struck in the name of Valerian II have erroneously been assigned by the authors of older references to Saloninus. Such references, like Cohen, should be used cautiously. Inclusion of SAL or SALON in the inscription is a certain indicator that the coinage is of Saloninus and not Valerian II; similarly, without SAL or SALON, the coinage probably belongs to Valerian II.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
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  6. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Great writeup, JG! I don't have any coins of Saloninus but remember a very interesting Alexandrian tet of Saloninus formerly owned by Stevex6. I think someone on CT bought it. @zumbly, was it you?

    Here's his dad:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Gallienus
    year 13, CE 265/6
    tetradrachm, 21 mm, 9.1 gm
    Obv: Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: AVTKΠΛIKΓAΛΛIHNOCCEB; eagle standing right, holding wreath in beak, palm over shoulder; L IΓ across field
    Ref: Emmett 3806(13), R1
    Ex Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 88.203 (accessioned 1888); Benjamin Pierce Cheney Collection

    And granddad:
    PHOENICIA, Tyre. Valerian I (CE 253-260)
    Æ28.5 mm, 12.2 gm
    Obv: IMP CP LIC VALERIANVS AVG; radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: COL TVRO METRO; the building of Carthage: Dido standing left, holding cubit ruler and scepter, surveying construction; mason above gate, worker with pick-axe digging before gate, murex shell to lower right
    Ref: Rouvier 2501; BMC 470; cf Price & Trell 748
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
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  7. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Obviously haven't shown it off enough. :rolleyes::D

    Saloninus - Alexandria Tetradrachm Eagle 2803.jpg SALONINUS
    Potin Tetradrachm. 13.0g, 24mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 7 of Valerian I and Gallienus (AD 259/60). Emmett 3777; Dattari (Savio) 5377. O: ΠO ΛI KOP CA VAΛЄPIANOC K CЄB, bareheaded, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: Eagle standing left, head right, holding wreath in beak; L Z (date) across field.
    Ex Stevex6 Collection (CNG E-311, 25 Sep 2013, lot 948); ex Robert M. Harlick Collection

    Thanks for the excellent and engaging writeup, @Julius Germanicus!
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  8. Great write-up and thanks for posting it...
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  9. bcuda

    bcuda Well-Known Member

    Very nice write-up ! Love the history behind these coins it just puts it all into a different perspective than just an old ancient coin.
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  10. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    thanks for posting, great write-up of an interesting time
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  11. Alegandron

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

    Great write up, and lotsa great coins!

    RI Saloninus 259 BI Ant Stndg Globe Spear Captive at feet
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  12. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Of Saloninus I only have this strange hybrid coin with an obverse of the little Caesar and a reverse from his executioner Postumus. I bought it in April at the CNG N.McQ. Holmes auction of Valerianus-Gallienus coins, as a Beast coin that's ugly but historically interesting. It's most probably a forgery in poor metal of the 260s: the reverse die dates from 262 or later, but Saloninus died in 258.


    Antoninianus Saloninus caesar (258-260) – Postumus (259-268), contemp. forgery, hybrid with reverse of Postumus. Obv. Radiate and draped bust right. SALON VALERIANVS CAES. Rev. Hercules standing left, holding olive branch, club and lion-skin. radiate and draped bust right. HERC PACIFERO. 18.5 mm, 2.89 gr. Reverse of Postumus, AGK 27, RIC V 67.
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  13. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Saloninus 2.jpg
    OBVERSE: SALON VALERIANVS NOB CAES Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind
    REVERSE: SPES PVBLICA, Prince, holding spear and Spes, holding flower standing face to face; wreath above
    Struck at Samosata, 259-260 AD
    2.81g, 22mm
    RIC V 36 var.
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  14. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..kool & coveted coins Germanicus and all...i've wanted a Saloninus coin for the longes(ever since i 1st read about him)..i even convinced meself that my Gallienius was him..but my peers here showed me the light:watching:..the search continues..:) herennius etruscus 002.JPG herennius etruscus 006.JPG
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  15. Here's a coin of Valerianus II that I procured fairly recently....

    Valerian II, AR antoninianus, 23 mm 4.2 grams

    Struck: 257-258, Cologne.

    Obverse: VALERIANVS CAES, radiate, draped bust right

    Reverse: IOVI CRESCENTI, the child Jupiter sitting right on the goat Amalthea, looking left, right hand raised, left hand holding the goat's horn.

    Reference: RIC 3 (Lyons); Cohen 26 (Saloninus); Elmer 67a; Goebl 0907e; Sear 10731.


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  16. ancient times

    ancient times Legatus Legionis

    Nice, very informative !
  17. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Great article and coins... thank you for posting @Julius Germanicus !

    I only have modest coins of Father and Grandfather..

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