Flavius Julius Constans, 337-350 AD


ID Number: AC06-0203
Category: Ancient Coins
Description: Flavius Julius Constans, 337-350 AD
Country or State: Roman Empire (62st Emperor of the Roman Empire)
Year: Siscia 342-343
Head of State/Ruler: Flavius Julius Constans Augustus
Reign: 337–350, jointly with Constantine II (until 340) and Constantius II
Face Value:  
Subject/Theme: Triumfator over the barbarian nations
Obverse: Laurel and rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right
Obverse Legend: FL IVL CONS – TANS P F AVG
Obverse Designer:  
Reverse: Emperor standing left, in military attire, holding standard with Christogram and transverse sceptre; in exergue, •SIS•.
Reverse Designer:  
Edge: Irregular
Mint Mark: •SIS•.
Composition: Silvered Bronze
Diameter: ~38.0 mm (irregular)
Weight: 22.5 grams
Krause & Mishler Number:  
Other Catalog Number: C 112. RIC 148. Gnecchi 18
State of Conservation: Extremely Fine (XF)
Rarity: Extremely rare

Proof (Prf) € -
Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) € -
Mint State/Mint Condition (MS) € -
Uncirculated (Unc) € -
Extremely Fine (XF) € -
Very Fine (VF) € -
Fine (F) € -
Very Good (VG) € -
Good (G) € -

Medallion of four heavy siliquae or three light miliarenses. An impressive medallion with a spectacular portrait in the finest style of the period. Struck on a full flan, light iridescent tone. The reverse of this medallion, inscribed TRIVMFATOR GENTIVM BARBARARVM (‘triumfator over the barbarian nations’), is a gloating celebration of Roman supremacy over its foreign enemies. The claim was well deserved in the era of the Constantinian dynasty: foreign enemies had been thoroughly dominated by Constantine I, a state of affairs that may have persisted for some time had he not antagonized the Sasanians just prior to this death in 337. The recent record of his sons also was laudable. Though Constantius II, in the East, was burdened with a long and persistent war with the Sasanians, success was more visible in the West. The issuer of this piece, the Western emperor Constans, had defeated the Sarmatians in 339, and in 342 had scored a resounding victory over the Franks. It would seem that this medallion celebrates that recent victory over the Franks, and it perhaps was distributed as a bonus to troops. It may also have been associated with the beginning of his tenth anniversary (decennalia), which began on December 25, 342 and was followed by a visit to Britain, which required a winter crossing of the channel early in 343. This boastful type was an invention of Constans who struck it only at mints under his control: Trier, Aquileia, Siscia and Thessalonica. It took the form of silver medallions and miliarenses that Constans struck in his name and on behalf of his brother Constantius II. Later emperors also adopted the type, with the most exceptional case being the rebel Magnentius, who struck silver medallions of the same weight after he overthrew Constans and assumed control of Italy. The weight of these medallions is of some interest, for they consistently weigh about 13 grams (slightly less than 12 scruples), meaning about 25 were produced per Roman pound of silver. They were nearly the equivalent of three light miliarenses or four heavy siliquae and, depending on the prevailing gold-to-silver exchange ratio, approximately five would have been equal to a gold solidus.