References about early Christian symbols on Roman coins.

The primary references for all Roman coins of this time period are
Roman Imperial Coinage, volume VII "Constantine to Licinus" (AD 313-337) by Patrick Bruun and
                                          volume VIII, "The Family of Constantine I" (AD 337-364) by John Kent.

Ancient Sources:

Eusebius, Life of Constantine the Great and Oration in Praise of Constantine.   
    Eusebius was one of the Church fathers and has been translated many times. Both of these works are found in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series, Volume 1, Eusebius, Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Apparently 1890, reprinted 1997. T&T Clark. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids Michigan.

General Works on Christian Symbols on Roman Coins:

Bruun, Patrick. "The Christian signs on the coins of Constantine," in Studies in Contantinian Numismatics by Patrick Bruun, 1962, 53-69. From Arctos (1962) 5-35.
    A comprehensive consideration of potential and actual Christian signs on coins of Constantine illustrated by 17 types, most with 3 or 4 coins illustrating the basic type with and without the symbol. Bruun wrote the volume of RIC with the coins of Constantine and knew the series as well as anybody.

Bruun, Patrick. "The Victorious Sign of Constantine: A Reappraisal," Numismatic Chronicle, 1997, pages 41-59.
    To me this article seems unclear, and on page 42 at the bottom he makes a false assertion and conclusion, which is proved false by type 1.8 with a chi-rho on a shield. This type was published in the catalog of the Hunter collection so it is not a question of my example being a later discovery piece.
De Caro Balbi, Silvana. "Comparsa di simboli christiani sulle monete dell'impero in eta Constantiniana," AIIN 16/17 (1969-70) 143-169 plus plates XIII and XIV and Figure 2 (across 4 pages). In Italian. 21 one-sided coin illustrations and a list of 77 varieties with the field marks and mintmark in a clear line drawing (including gold types).

Dunning, Mark. "First Christian Symbols on Roman Imperial Coins," The Celator, Dec. 2003 (volume 17.12) pages, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27.

King, Cathy E. "Christian symbols on coins of Constantine the Great," NNF-NYTT, number 1, April 1982, pages 8-13 (in English) and 12 one-sided enlarged photographs.
    Discusses whether the symbols in the field and asserts that under Constantine, "Field marks were composed of a variety of symbols (e.g. dots, stars, and crescents) and letters which changed quite frequently and in this context the + was simply one more sign in the repertoire."

Madden, Frederick W. "Christian emblems on coins of Constantine I, the Great, his family, and his successors," Numismatic Chronicle, 1877, volume 17. I am not sure of the original pagination. My copy seems complete and has pages 1-9 and plates 1-7, but the ANS Library citation has different page numbers and many more of them. Somewhat outdated, but it has 11 photos and 42 very good line drawings of both sides coins in our time period and another 52 of later coins through the Byzantine period.

Longtin, Rachelle, "Constantine and Christianity: The Numismatic Evidence," Journal of the Classical and Medieval Numismatic Society, 01/09/2000, pages 5-27.

Mattingly, Harold. Christianity in the Roman Empire. Paperback. Small format. 108 pages. Not focused on coins per se, but he was a major numismatic scholar at the British Museum and in this book he takes every possible chance to mention coins. 42 coins poorly illustrated at less than life size on three plates.

On Specific Types:

MacIsaac, John D. "'The Hand of God': A Numismatic Study," Traditio, Vol. 31, (1975) p. 322-328, 4 pls.  11 coins and a low-relief sculpture illustrated.

Odahl, Charles M. "An Eschatologial Interpretation of Constantine's Labarum Coin," Journal of the Society for Ancient Numismatics (SAN) VI.3, Spring 1975, pages 47-51.

Odahl, Charles M. "Christian Symbols on Constantine's Siscia Helmet Coins.” Journal of the Society for Ancient Numismatics (SAN) VIII.4, Fall 1977, pages 56-58.

Alfoldi, Andreas. "The Helmet of Constantine with the Christian Monogram." JRS 22 (1932) pages 9-23 and plates II-IV.

Callu, [dating Theodora AE4] xx

Kent, John P. C. Numismatic Chronicle, 1954, pages 216-7. Four reverses illustrated in a short note order to discuss the chi-rho types of Magnentius, Constantius II, Vetranio, and the bull of Julian.


"Christian Symbolism on Bronze Coins of Constantine the Great,"
    An extensive illustrated site by a very knowledgeable collector and scholar.

"Early Christian Coins"

"Coins of Constantine: Revelations in Numismatics"

Return to the main page on early Christian symbols on coins.

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