ROMAN EMPIRE Magnentius 350-353 AD heavy maiorina,


ROMAN EMPIRE, Magnentius, 350-353 AD, heavy maiorina, no date (350-51 AD), Lugdunum, officina 2, Obverse: bare headed, cuirassed bust R, D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, A behind head, Reverse: Emperor riding R spearing enemy, GLORIA ROMANORVM, R S LG, billon, 23mm, 4.34g, SR18799, F

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Magnentius was put up by soldiers to displace the Western Emperor Constans, who had lost, as the Chinese say, the mandate of Heaven. The thought seemed to be that Magnentius was a good guy, and competent, why shouldn’t the Emperor in the East, Constantius II, welcome you into the administration after you’d just killed his brother. And if there’s one usurper, why not more? Constantius eventually managed to be in the right place at the right time and Magnentius was crushed and committed suicide.

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.