Theodosius I Solidus - Mintmark Question

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by larssten, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. larssten

    larssten Active Member


    Here is a recent addition - a solidus of Theodosius I (379-395 AD).

    Solidus (Gold, 21 mm, 4.46 g, 12 h), uncertain military mint, 393-395. D N THEODO-SIVS P F AVG Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Theodosius I to right. Rev. VICTORI-A AVGGG A / S - M / COMOB Theodosius I standing front, head to right, holding labarum in his right hand and Victory on globe in his left and placing his left foot on captive below. Depeyrot 34/5 corr. ('Sirmium', but misattributed to Theodosius II). RIC 15a.1 ('Sirmium').

    The auction description says "uncertain military mint". That raises a few questions for me:
    1. The reverse has S - M on Theodosius' sides. I first thought it was a mint mark for "Sirmium" as it was mentioned in the auction description. Sirmium was a city in the Roman province of Pannonia, located on the Sava river, on the site of modern Sremska Mitrovica in northern Serbia [Source: Wikipedia]. I have come to understood that S - M actually means "Sacra Moneta" - i.e. sacred money and thus not a mark for place of mintage.

    2. Like other late Roman solidi the mint mark COMOB is in exergue abbreviating Comitatus Obryziacum or Constantinople solidus that has been struck at a weight of 72 to a pound. I am sure there is a longer history to this, but have understood that COMOB was also an earlier mintmark in itself.

    3. What potential military mints could this coin have been minted at? I know Theodosius fought several campaigns agains the Goths and it has been indicated to have been minted at the very end of his reign and life, 393-395. He also died in Milan in 395.

    I would appreciate any comments or supplements to my somewhat confusion about the mintmark and any comments on the coin in general.


    Stack's Bowers Galleries January 2013 N.Y.I.N.C, lot 5488, 08.01.2013.jpg
    eparch, Edessa, panzerman and 6 others like this.
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  3. IMP Shogun

    IMP Shogun Well-Known Member

    Eugenius comes to mind
  4. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    RIC IX p. 157 might help shed some light.

    Edessa and IMP Shogun like this.
  5. larssten

    larssten Active Member

    Thanks for the reference.

    I still don't understand why its not minted in Sirmium, and why its attributed to "uncertain military mint".
  6. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    It's very likely minted in Sirmium, at least according to RIC IX. The point of some controversy is around the status of these issues in those times. Sirmium as a regular imperial mint had been closed since late 364 or at least early 365 and afterwards only singular precious metal issues can be assigned to Sirmium, but not as an imperial minting city, but rather as a stopping point in Theodosius' campaign, by an imperial minting operation traveling with Theodosius. This explains the constantinopolitan style: the dies were made by cutters from Constantinople brought to Sirmium on a temporary basis to supply coin for Theodosius in his campaign.
    hotwheelsearl likes this.
  7. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    And here is where my ignorance rises to the surface: isn't the last letter of the reverse inscription the mint mark? Or is that the officina mark?
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