and a few more rulers

On January 17, 395AD the Emperor Theodosius I died in Milan. The Roman Empire is split (once more) into eastern and a western halfs. The Eastern Roman Empire is ruled from Constantinople under Arcadius, a son of Theodosius. The Western Roman Empire center is Mediolanum and the crown held by Honorius, Arcadius' younger brother (aged 10). The reign of Honorius was plagued by usurpers and beset by large-scale barbarian invasions of Gaul, Italy and Spain. Ultimately, Alaric would sack Rome (410AD). Constantius was a successful general and became the real power behind the throne during the later part of Honorius' reign. He successfully defeated the usurpers Maximus and Constantine III in Gaul, and expelled the Visigoths from Italy. In 421 A.D., Honorius proclaimed him co-emperor, but the general died shortly afterwards. more coins of the era are here.


The Jovinus coin (DN~IOVIN~~VSPF~AVG) (center below-Governor of Provence 570AD) bears the KONOB mark of Arles of Provence (Arelate-AR) on the reverse (A~R in the field), while the other two of Honorius (left) and Constantius (right) bear the mark CONOB, normally thought of as the Constantinople mint (CON for the city; OB meaning refined metal), but each is a product of another place (Sirmium (S~M) and Ravenna (R~V)), using the mark to suggest high purity (the purity of a coin minted by the Eastern Empire) and to gain acceptance. Note the similarity of reverses, a coin issued to celebrate a victory.

New: 01/14/2014


Pictured is a Roman coin of 311AD

April 30, 311: The Roman co-ruler (Augustus), commonly called Galerius, publicly had issued an edict of tolerance on this day, thereby ending the violent persecutions under Diocletian, who had recently retired to a villa on the Adriatic Sea. A year later in Milan, the act is confirmed and enlarged by Constantine [the Great]. Christianity would become the dominating force in the Empire in the years to come under his sole rule. Acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father's death in 306 AD, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both the west and east empires of Rome by 324 AD.

The denomination here is a follis (following the monetary reform begun under Diocletian; Billon - copper based metal possibly silvered at the mint) from Roman Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint. This is posthumous issue from 311 A.D. - obverse DIVO MAXIMIANO MAXIMINVS AVG FIL, with a laureate head facing right; reverse AETERNAE MEMORIAE GALERI MAXIMIANI, showing a lighted altar, garlanded, ornamented on front panel with eagle standing left, head right, wreath in beak; MKVA in the exerge (mint mark). The follis was issued by Maximianus II. The coin looks as if it had been in fairly dry ground for a while, after being in circulation. The hardened sediment has been partially removed by scraping (generally never a good idea).

Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus was Cæsar, tetrarch and later Augustus. Although a talented general and administrator, Galerius is better known for his key role in the "Great Persecution" of Christians. He ended the persecution and asked for prayers for his return to health from a serious illness, which took his life less than a week later. Lest you think this somehow unfair, In 303 A.D., the persecution of Christians had increased, beginning at Nicomedia at Galerius' behest. Galerius died at Sardica. Maximizes II and Licinius split his realm between them. ... (there are 18 pages of Galerius-related coins at this link)

Similar coin, but struck by Licinius: Billon follis from the Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, posthumous, 311 A.D. - obverse DIVO MAXIMIANO, veiled head right; reverse MEM DIVI MAXIMIANI, domed shrine, closed doors, surmounted by eagle, Although somewhat worn, this coin has been less abused (than the first one shown). Some cities that produced coins had more than one workshop (officinæ) for the same mintmark. On this issue, you see the letter "B" on the reverse for the second such workshop at that date in Thessalonica. Workshops might be indicated in Roman numerals or greek symbols, such as the Δ ("delta") for 4th workshop or II for the second one.

Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece): many of you will recognize the ancient name of the city because of the letters of Paul that survive in the Bible which were written to the congregation in that city, as well as several other mentions.

Acts 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 16:10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we {Paul, Silas and Luke} sought to go {about A.D. 53} on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the good news to them.

Thessalonica was in Macedonia, an important city; it develops historical status as the Συμβασιλεύουσα (Symvasilévousa) or "co-reigning" city of the Byzantine Empire, alongside Constantinople.

The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion) was a proclamation issued on March 31, 1492, by the Most Catholic monarchs of Spain (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) ordering the removal of practicing Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and its territories and possessions. As a result a large community migrated to Thessalonica, residing in the center of the old city (and still speaking Spanish as late as the early 20th Century). Macedonia was under Turkish (Ottoman Empire) rule until the outset of the 20th century, when it came under Greek control. The Great Fire of August 1917 was a conflagration that did away with two thirds of the city, destroying most all of the old city. The sorrows of that community were not yet at an end. During World War II, the Nazis occupied Greece and removed its Jewish population to the death camps. Most did not survive that expulsion.

Septimius Severus also known as Severus, was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. The pictured coin above from his era was one struck at Lauriacum, near today's Linz, Austria in order to pay soldiers of Legion II Italica {LEG II ITAL-reverse} who were stationed on the "border" there. The reverse also shows the Legion's standards and the Roman Eagle.

This coin below is one of a series of six that celebrate the Roman history of the region and this coin shows soldier Florian at the bridge (reverse) and on the obverse the Emperor and St. Florian with a millstone and banner of St. George.

May 4th was the first Wednesday after the Orthodox celebration of the Resurrection in 2016. It is also the yearly Feast Day of Saint Florian ( ? – ca. 304). Florian was a Roman military officer stationed next to Lorch (at that time called Lauriacum in Latin -- the alternate Latin name for Lauriacum is Blaboriciaco), in what is today Enns in Oberösterreich. Florian adopted the new Christian religion. He refused to give up his faith when arrested during the persecution of Diocletian. Tortured first, a stone then was tied to Florian's neck. Soldiers tossed him into the river Enns. As a martyr, Florian was regarded as set apart or sanctified long before the formal practice of canonization by a pope, his feast day being May 4th. A millstone, said to be the stone which was tied around Florian's neck, is kept in the crypt of the monastery (Stiff) church of St. Florian near Linz. He is the patron Saint of Austria and of fireman (Feuerwehr), depicted often (as here in the foyer of the volunteer fire department of Bickenbach, crafted in tile by Peter Weigold) with the standard of Saint George (or a millstone which was used to drown him), while pouring water on a burning house:

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