ROMAN EMPIRE Constans 337-350 AD centenionalis


ROMAN EMPIRE, Constans, 337-350 AD, centenionalis, no date (340-42 AD), Alexandria mint, officina 3, Obverse: diademed and cuirassed bust R, CONSTANS AVG, Reverse: 2 soldiers supporting 1 standard, GLORIA EXERCITVS, SMALĪ“, billon, 16mm, 1.77g, SR18565, porous, VF

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Constans was the youngest son of Constantine the Great and Fausta. He was made Caesar at either age ten or thirteen, we’re not sure. When his cousins Delmatius and Haniballianus were murdered he became ruler of Italy, the Balkans, and North Africa. His half-brother Constantine Junior invaded Constans’ territory but Constans ambushed them and prevailed. He had a complex personality that included Christian fanaticism and what they used to call dissolute practices, and he was mean and greedy. After annoying the army for a few years a plot developed and Magnentius was put up as Emperor by the soldiers. Constans fled the scene but was caught and executed.

In the Imperial Period Roman coinage became an engine for governmental propaganda. All of the themes of the coins are celebratory of some aspect of govermental authority or achievement.

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.