Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orange Julius, Nov 11, 2018 at 2:59 AM.

  1. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    This coin is rated common by RIC but you don't see them that often so I'd expect they're actually somewhat scarce. Anyway, it's a very heroic looking reverse... I bet any legionary looking at this coin couldn't help but smile a little.

    I haven't had time to research the reason for this type being minted so... if you have the story, post it below. From what I understand VIRTVTI EXERCITVS = the valor of the army. What was the reason for kissing up to the legions in 308-310?

    I managed to snag another one of these from Galerius and will post it when it arrives.

    Anyway, post your VIRTVTI EXERCITVS coins or other sweet coins minted in the same timeframe (308-310)!

    Licinius I
    Obv: VAL LICINIVS P F AVG - Laureate head right
    Rev: VIRTVTI E-XERCITVS - Virtus advancing right, holding trophy and spear.
    Star in left field, B in right field.
    Mintmark dot SM dot TS dot.
    Thessalonica mint: AD 308-310 = RIC VI, 37b
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 3:11 AM
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  3. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Nice one. Here's one from the same mint, but for Maximinus Daia, during the period that Galerius tried to saddle him and Constantine with the FIL AVG title. Neither of them took to the idea.

    Maximinus II - Fil Avg.jpg
    MAXIMINUS II DAIA, as Filius Augustorum
    AE Follis. 6.25g, 26.7mm, Thessalonica mint, 4th officina, AD 309-310, RIC VI 39a (scarce). O: MAXIMINVS FIL AVGG, laureate head right. R: VIRTVTI E-XERVITVS, Mars advancing right, holding spear and trophy; star and Δ in field, •SM•TS• in exergue.
    Ex Asta 06 Online, Lot 3188

    You have your reverse figure as Virtus, but the description I have for mine is Mars. I'm not sure if the convention always holds true, but the distinction some make between the two falls to whether the figure is nude (and therefore Mars, as on our coins above), or dressed in military garb (Virtus, as on the coin below).

    Maximinus II - Virtus Alexandria Dattari 2340.jpg MAXIMINUS II DAIA
    AE Follis. 6.33g, 24.7mm. Alexandria mint, AD 308. RIC VI Alexandria 77. O: GAL VAL MAXIMINVS NOB CAES, laureate head right. R: VIRTVS EX-ERCITVS, Virtus in military dress advancing right, holding transverse spear and trophy over shoulder; P in left field, Δ over R in right field, ALE in exergue.
    Ex Giovanni Dattari Collection (1853-1923)
    Valentinian, dlhill132, TIF and 12 others like this.
  4. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Nice Licinius. I have Galerius and Maximinus II:
    Valentinian, dlhill132, TIF and 11 others like this.
  5. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Just a bit later (311) but still a VIRTVTI E-XERCITVS

    Constantine the Great, Follis - Nicomedia mint, 2nd officina, c. AD 311
    IMP C FL VAL CONSTANTINVS P F AVG; Laureate head right
    VIRTVTIE-XERCITVS Mars/Virtus advancing right in military dress, holding transverse spear and shield ; trophy over shoulder. B in right field. SMN in exergue.
    4.88 gr, 22 mm
    RIC-, C-, Roman coins -
    RIC lists this type only for Licinius and Maximinus . "Iovi Conservatori and Virtuti Exercitus both appear for Licinius and Maximinus, emissions for the former being the more scarce: coinage for Constantine is extremely rare. Date, c. 311". Coin should be listed after NICOMEDIA 70c.
    Please see Victor Clarks website for further information at :

  6. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Here's three of Constantine, the first with a different inscription but the same imagery as the OP:
    Ticinum mint, A.D. 306
    RIC 75
    Rev: VIRTVS AV-GG ET CAESS NN - Helmeted Mars, advancing right, with transverse spear and holding trophy over shoulder
    ST in exergue; [dot] in left field
    27mm, 10.6 g.

    The next is described as Virtvs in military dress, although it's in pretty rough shape, so it could be Mars, nude but with cloak and boots? It's the same series as the OP:
    Thessalonica mint, A.D. 308-310
    RIC 38b
    Rev: VIRTVTI E-XERCITVS - Virtus, advancing right in military dress, holding transverse spear in right hand and trophy over left shoulder.
    [dot]SM[dot]TS[dot] in exergue; [star] in left field, Δ in right
    24 mm, 6.0 g.

    Here's a later one, from the same series as Cucumbor's coin. This one is clearly Virtus:
    Nicomedia mint, A.D. 311
    RIC 70, var. (Should be RIC 70c)
    Rev: VIRTVTI E-XERCITVS - Virtus, in military dress, advancing right with spear and shield
    SMN in exergue, A in right field
    23 mm, 4.7 g.
  7. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    I would love one of these types!
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  8. Victor_Clark


    Coins praising the military are smart (and cautious) moves by Emperors, as they only rule as long as they have the support of the military. More than one emperor was "retired" by the army. Consider the later GLORIA EXERCITVS issue of Constantine, no specific reason to issue it, he was just reaffirming his gratitude for the army.

    Though the VIRTVTI type might not allude to any specific victory (Licinius did have a victory over the Sarmatians in 310), there were other reasons it may have been issued. This type was struck around the same time that Licinius was raised to Augustus (after the conference at Carnuntum) so it was probably seen as important to reassure the military that everything was fine, as this was actually a fairly turbulent time with the Tetrarchy crumbling...remember that Maxentius had defeated Eastern Roman armies in 307. So this type was probably just propaganda for the Eastern Army.
    dlhill132, TIF, Jwt708 and 2 others like this.
  9. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    @zumbly You're right of course about it probably Mars rather than Virtus. Thank you for pointing that out! I really like the Virtus in military dress coins... maybe even more than the Mars coins. That Maximinus from Alexandria is a real beauty. Another one for the list and another hit to my coin budget! Nice coins!

    Thank you for the background @Victor_Clark ! That information was the time-period context I was looking to find. It makes sense that as new people were taking over leadership, they'd want to flatter the army in their own name. Great information as always!

    @gogili1977 That Galerius from Nicomedia is a great coin. The one I just purchased is nowhere near as nice. Good catch!

    @Cucumbor That Constantine from Nicomedia is great as well.. a lot of detail and a great eastern style portrait. The portrait reminds me of a bit later ones from Alexandria and Antioch... Kinda like the Maximinus II below from Antioch
    @gsimonel I love that Constantine as Caesar coin. I need more of those. An interesting nose on that portrait and Mars has some great footwear too!
  10. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Each mint seems to emphasize different details. My Galerius from Kyzikos has interesting detail on the inside of the shield including the two straps by which it was carried.
  12. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter in hoc signo vinces

    Great coins all. I don't have one of this type yet but I am going to keep my eyes open.
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