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    Rare Constantine the Great Miliarense

    Constantine I (AD 307-337). AR light miliarense (21mm, 4.29 gm, 12h). NGC AU 4/5 - 3/5. Constantinople, 1st officina, AD 336. CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Constantine I right, seen from front / VIRTVS-EXERCITVS, soldier standing facing, helmeted head right, inverted spear in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield; CONSA in exergue. RIC VII 131. Deep toning on solid flan, raised areas of metal on both sides, likely from an improperly prepared alloy.

    From the Collection of a Philhellene. Ex Sotheby's (7 March 1996), lot 219.

    Like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, Constantine the Great profoundly transformed the world during his 31 years of rule. By embracing Christianity, he gave the Roman world a new faith which provided the foundations for the medieval and modern worlds. By moving the capital of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople, he established the groundwork for the Byzantine millennium that followed. His abilities as a military leader and administrator solidified the fourth century Roman revival. Among his many reforms was an overhaul of Roman gold coinage, undertaken circa AD 312-313. The venerable gold aureus, which had seen its weight fluctuate wildly over the past century, was replaced by a new gold coin called the solidus, fixed at 1/72nd of a Roman pound, and the silver unit called the siliqua, valued at 1/96th Roman pound. Several rare silver unit mulitples were also introduced, this light miliarense being an example and valued at 1/72nd Roman pound. This impressive silver coin exemplifies the return to more realistic portraiture, from the homogenous art style of the Tetrarchic Era. Although in lower relief, the diademed bust of Constantine (another innovation, the diadem was once worn by Hellenistic monarchs as an expression of divine kingship) is very much in the style of Trajan's coinage of 200 years before.


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
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