Early Christian Symbolism on Roman Coins. 
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Coins of Table 5: c. AD 350: Coins issued by Vetranio and Constantius II and then Constantius Gallus
in opposition to the reign (usurpation) of Magnentius and Decentius.
Images are all proportional to their actual size.

Vetranio (March 1, 350 until his abdication December 25, 350).
Vetranio issued six AE types, of which five have a chi-rho on a standard.

Emperor standing front, holding in each hand a standard with ch-rho.
This type was issued simultaneously with the HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS type.


at Siscia
obv: A behind neck and * by chin
rev: A in field left
mm: • ASIS  •
23 mm. 4.56 grams. 12:00.
RIC Siscia 285 



Vetranio, at Thessalonica
rev: A to left, B to right, star above
mm: •ABΔ•
25-23 mm. 6.28 grams. 1:30.
RIC Thessalonica 132




Constantius II
at Siscia
Struck under Vetranio
25 mm. 4.78 grams. 6:00
obv: A behind neck
rev: A in field left
mm: ASIS •
RIC Siscia 285

GG  Constantius Gallus
  at Siscia
  22 mm. 4.16 grams. 12:00.

The type, initiated by Vetranio, was continued for Gallus.
"III" in reverse left field. Struck after Gallus became Caesar March 15, 351 (well after Vetranio abdicated) to August 351 when the mint was taken over by Magnentius for about a month until it was retaken by Constantius II, after which the type was apparently not resumed (according to RIC, even though it was issued then at Sirmium--see the next coin). Coins of this type and the next are perhaps three or four times as common for Constantius II as for Gallus, so it might be that this type was discontinued within a year of the elevation of Gallus. For Gallus, two scarce AE3 types and then common FEL TEMP REPARATIO galley and soldier-spearing-fallen-horseman types followed it, suggesting the CONCORDIA MILITVM and HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS types were not continued for long in the reign of Gallus, who was deposed and executed in late 354.
 RIC Sicisa 30. 

  Constantius Gallus
  a Sirmium
  24-23 mm. 5.24 grams. 6:00
  Obv: A left. Rev: III left
Struck, obviously, after the mint at Sirmium was founded c. Sept 351 (almost a year after Vetranio abdicated) using the personnel from one officina of Siscia.
Sirmium did not issue coins for Vetranio. The type, initiated by Vetranio, was continued for Gallus.
  RIC Sirmium 24

  Constantius II,
  at Sirmium
  24-21 mm. 5.03 grams. 12:30.
  (The same issue as the above coin for Gallus.)
  RIC Sirmium 21


The first overtly Christian legend.
A small chi-rho on a standard (a "labarum") held by the emperor who is being crowned by Victory,
with the legend consisting of the famous words reportedly said by God to Constantine in his vision before the decisive battle of the Milvian bridge:
HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS (beginning at 7:00) "With the sign, you will be victorious."
Emperor standing holding standard with chi-rho,
to r. is Victory, crowning him with wreath and holding palm branch


21 mm. 5.06 grams. 12:30.
obv: A behind and * in front of bust
rev: A in field left
mm: • ASIS  •
RIC Siscia 287




Same type as above. This one has some silvering.




 Constantius II
  24 mm. 6.09 grams. 12:00
  obv: A behind neck. rev: A in field left
  The "A" in the left field of the reverse is a control mark attributed to the time of Vetranio, unlike the "III" seen on all Gallus coins of this type.
   Gallus did not become Caesar until March 15, 351, well after Vetranio abdicated.
   RIC Siscia 282.


  Constantius II
  23-22 mm. 4.80 grams. 6:00.
  *SIS<crescent opening up>
The "III" in the left field of the reverse indicates it was issued alongside the issues of Gallus (see the next coin) and therefore not during the reign of Vetranio.
  RIC Siscia 304


  Constantius Gallus
  23 mm. 6.75 grams. 6:00
  RIC Siscia 306


Constantius Gallus. RIC Sirmium 22
21 mm. 5.11 grams. 12:00
This coin is from Sirmium, a mint which did not issue coins for Vetranio. The type, initiated by Vetranio, was continued for Gallus.
Struck, obviously, after the mint at Sirmium was founded c. Sept 351.
For comments on Gallus and the Sirmium mint, see above.


Type 5.3. Large AE2: VIRTVS - EXERCITVM
Emperor standing front, holding standard with chi-rho, resting left on shield

Vetranio, RIC Thessalonica 126
23 mm. 4.71 grams. 12:00.
Remarkably fine example. Some silvering.



Note for collectors: Vetranio issued three AE2 types. This one is by far the scarcest. The HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS type is more historical and much more in demand, but fewer of this type have been offered.



Emperor standing front, holding standard with chi-rho and reversed spear, leaning left on shield.


19 mm. 2.64 grams. 1:00
mm: ESIS
RIC Siscia 294


Constantius II
19-16 mm. 2.54 grams. 12:00
mm:   ΓSIS
RIC Siscia 293


  Constantius Gallus
  18 mm. 1.85 grams. 6:00
  RIC Siscia 356
  "Fourth issue" of four from 28 Sept. 351 to 6 Nov. 355.



Emperor front, holding standard with chi-rho, resting left on shield


18 mm. 2.56 grams. 6:00
RIC Thessalonica 138



Type 5.6. Large AE2: SALVS AVG NOSTRI (instead of SALVS DD NN AVG ET CAES), large chi-rho with small alpha (A) and omega (ω) on either side.

  Constantius II, 337-361
  issued by Poemenius
  at Trier

  This coin: 23 mm. 6.86 grams.
  Laureate bust of Constantius II right
   TRP * (a mintmark of Trier)
  RIC Trier 335. Struck 352 or 353, in the last months of the reign of Magnetius and Decentius.

This is almost the same type as the large "double maiorina" below with reverse legend which ends "AVG ET CAES" (Type 6.5) instead of "PF AVG" (this type). It is adapted from the plural for two emperors (Magnentius and Decentius) to the singular for the sole emperor, Constantius II, as discussed on the main page.


Continue with coins from the next table, Table 6 (coins of Magnentius and Decenius).

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