ROMAN EMPIRE, 307-37 AD and later, billon reduced centenionalis, URBS ROMA / VOT mule


ROMAN EMPIRE, Constantine I, 307-37 AD and later, reduced centenionalis, no mintmark or missing, Obverse: bust Roma L, VRBS ROMA, Reverse: VOT XX MVLT XXX, billon, 14-16mm, 1.04g, RIC VIII-56+, irregular planchet, XF

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Son of Constantius I, Constantine was Caesar in the west when his father died. He was passed over for western Augustus in favor of Licinius I. After several years war broke out between them, Constantine winning in the end. He proceeded to dismantle the Tetrarchy system and inaugurated a new governmental organization that still had eastern and western Emperors but with a single family running a dynastic operation within the ruling structure. Supposedly converted to Christianity at his death. Rome became officially Christian shortly after. Called Constantine the Great. This coin displays the title “Son of Emperors,” a meaningless consolation prize for not being made Augustus by Galerius.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.