Roman Empire, Constans - Unique Multiple of 1.5 Solidi

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This unique and impressive gold multiple belongs to the period immediately following the assumption of the Augustate by Constantine II, Constantius and Constans following the death of their father Constantine I.

Constantine had died on 22 May 337 and was buried consecrated in the church of the Holy Apostles in what was, according to Eusebius, essentially a Roman military funeral. There was, of course, no precedent for burying a Christian emperor. The all important army was induced to accept the authority only of the dead emperor's sons; by the summer all the descendants of Theodora and their partisans were massacred and bloody purges of all potential rivals continued well into 338.

The singular legend on the reverse of this coin expresses Constantinian 'constant' valour and heroism, qualities that an heir of Constantine would have been very keen to emphasize. The realistic 'Constantinian' style of the portrait engraved by a very competent die cutter used to reproducing the image of Constantine furthermore argues for this being a donative issue to be dated early in the reign of the three Augusti as part of the payments so necessary to secure the loyalty of the army, the backbone of the regime and the ultimate source of power for all Roman emperors.

Constans AV Multiple of 1 1/2 Solidi. Siscia, AD 337. FL IVL CONSTANS PF AVG, rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right / VIRTVS CONSTANTIS AVG, Constans in military attire standing to left, holding labarum and reversed spear; at his feet, a seated captive with hands tied behind; SIS* in exergue. Depeyrot -; Bastien, Donativa -; Toynbee -; Gnecchi -; RIC -, for types cf. Aquileia 3 = Paolucci - Zub, La monetazione di Aquileia romana, Padova 200, 365. 6.81g, 27mm, 6h.

Good Extremely Fine. Apparently unique and unpublished.