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    Impressive Constans Medallion

    Constans (AD 337-350). AR medallion of 4 siliquae (38mm, 12.72 gm, 6h). NGC Choice AU ★ 5/5 - 4/5, Fine Style. Thessalonica, AD 342-343. FL IVL CONSTANS PIVS FELIX AVG, laureate-and-rosette diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Constans right, bust viewed from front, his general's cloak (paludamentum) pinned at right shoulder with floral pendant brooch and swept back over the left shoulder  / TRIVMFATOR GENTIVM BARBARARVM, Constans standing left in military attire of cuirass with pteruges, paludamentum (arranged as on obverse) and high-topped boots (calcei equestri), holding vexillum standard emblazoned with single O in right hand resting left hand on oval shield likewise marked with O, TES in exergue. RIC 80 (R3). Gnecchi, Medaglioni I,  21 and Pl. 30, 11. RSC 114+b. Extremely rare! An impressive medallion, well struck from dies of fine style on an immense flan and beautifully toned.

    Ex Herold Collection of Roman Coins (Hess-Divo 324, 23 October 2013), lot 110 (realized $123,000 hammer). 

    The youngest son of Constantine the Great, Flavius Julius Constans was proclaimed Caesar in AD 333, thus making him coequal with his elder brothers Constantine II and Constantius II. When Constantine died in May of AD 337, the three brothers executed most of their male relations and divided the Roman Empire among themselves. Constans at first received only Italy and Africa as his sphere, but in a deal with Constantius II, his realm was enlarged to include the Balkan territories and Thrace. Angered by the collusion of his brothers, Constantine II invaded Italy in the spring of AD 340, but fell into an ambush and perished. In the territorial redistribution, Constans ended up controlling the entire Roman West, including Spain, Gaul, Germany and Britain. At first, he ruled with energy and ability, dealing the Franks a series of smashing defeats in AD 341-342 and conducting operations in Britain along Hadrian's Wall in AD 343. As time went on, Constans sank into indolence and depravity. He increased the already heavy tax burden on his subjects and sold magistracies to the highest bidder. Worse for his own security, he showed open contempt for the soldiery, on whom his power rested. In January of AD 350, a cabal of senior officers rebeled and hailed the half-barbarian general Magnentius as emperor. Constans attempted to flee toward Spain, but was overtaken and murdered by one of Magnentius's agents. 

    This stunning silver medallion was struck at Thessalonica, probably as a special handout to military officers and important civilians. The reverse depicts Constans in full armor and emblazoned with the grandiose legend "Conqueror of the Barbarian Peoples," likely referring to his victories of AD 342-343 over the Franks and Picts.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2018
    7th-8th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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