ROMAN EMPIRE Constantius Gallus reduced maiorina


ROMAN EMPIRE, Constantius Gallus, Caesar 351-354 AD, reduced maiorina, no date (352-53 AD), Sirmium mint, officina 1, Obverse: bare headed bust R, D N CONSTANTIVS IVN NOB C, no letter behind head, Reverse: soldier spearing fallen barbarian, FEL TEMP REPARATIO, ASIRM crescent, bronze, 18mm, 2.25g, SR18974, RIC VIII 49, VG

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Constantius Gallus was a more distant relative of Constantine the Great. The sons of Constantine murdered most of Gallus’ family to fortify their political position, but spared him because of his youth. Later, when he was grown, Constantius II needed him to be a Caesar in the East while he fought usurpers in the West. Gallus turned out to be a megalomanic sadist who just enjoyed making other people suffer. When Constantius returned from the West he had Gallus executed. Roman billon coinage lost value throughout this period, and the coins got smaller.

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.