Finest Known HannibalianusHannibalianus (AD 335-337). Æ follis (15mm, 1.58 gm, 11h). Constantinople, 2nd officina, ca. AD 336-337. FL HANNIBALIANO REGI, draped and cuirassed bust right / SE-CURITAS PVBLICA, Euphrates reclining right, leaning on scepter; urn at side; reed in background; CONSS. RIC 147. LRBC 1036. Rare. Dark green patina. Likely the finest known coin extant of this rather mysterious Constantinian personage. Superb Extremely Fine.
Ex Imagines Imperatorum Collection (Aureo and Calicó, 8 February 2012), lot 343.
The position of young Flavius Claudius Hannibalianus in the succession arrangements of Constantine I the Great (AD 306-337) remains obscure and mysterious. Rather oddly named in honor of Hannibal, one of Rome's greatest enemies, Hannibalianus was the son of Constantine's half-brother and thus the great Emperor's nephew. In AD 335 he was included in an elaborate five-way succession scheme along with his brother Delmatius and the three surviving sons of Constantine, who were all named Caesar. Hannibalianus, however, received a very different title-- Rex Regum et Pontiacarum Gentium, or "King of Kings and of the Pontic Peoples." Constantine apparently foresaw Hannibalianus as the eventual ruler of territories beyond the formal boundaries of the Empire, including the vast Sasanian Persian kingdom then ruled by Shapur II (AD 309-379). Indeed, Constantine spent his last years preparing a massive campaign against the Persians, but fell ill and died in May of AD 337, before it could be launched. The five-way succession scheme abruptly collapsed as Constantine's three sons seized control of the army and ordered the executions of their cousins.
Coins of Hannibalianus were struck only at Constantinople and remain the only pieces struck to give the title "king" (REGI) to a Roman ruler. The reverse type, a reclining personification of the River Euphrates, supports the view that Constantine's eventual aim was to invade the Sasanian Persian Kingdom and install Hannibalianus at its head, thus ending the centuries-old conflict between East and West.
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