GENIO POPVLI ROMANI  GENIO AVGG ET CAESARVM NN                 GENIO POP ROM
Introduced c. 294 under the First Tetrarchy. This coin: 28 mm. Diocletian at Aquileia. Introduced under the First Tetrarchy c. 294, only at Cyzicus. This coin: 27 mm. Constantius as Caesar at Cyzicus Introduced by Constantine c. summer 307. This coin: 28-26 mm. Constantine as Caesar at Trier.

Genius on Roman coins under the First Tetrarchy and later, 294-315 CE.

"Genius" translates to something like "spirit." Diocletian's coin reform of c. 294 introduced the very common type
GENIO POPVLI ROMANI
"The spirit of the Roman people."
That legend is so common I have given it its own page). The design with Genius standing, holding patera and cornucopia continued in use on the follis denomination with eight new reverse legends until c. 315.

(Click on the images to see both sides of the coin and its description further down this page.)
What's new?  2020, July 3:  Licinius GENIO POP ROM. April 17: Maximinus II as Junior Augustus.,

Contents (links are to sections on this page, further down): 
•  Introduction, with the seven common reverse legends illustrated.

•  The reverse legends listed with links to examples.
•  All types illustrated with both sides of each example.
•  Design varieties of special interest. 
•  Additional examples   

•  Notes on legends and their mints and rulers.

Genius is usually naked but for a chlamys over his left shoulder and draped over his left forearm. However, when Constantius (the western Augustus of the Second Tetrarchy) died and his son Constantine became Caesar, his mints issued for all the rulers with the abbreviated legend GENIO POP ROM and Genius with his loins draped and with boots on his feet (third coin above). The initial legend emphasized the people of Rome, but in the east after 306 the reference to the people was omitted and the rulers and the army were celebrated.

 
                GENIO AVGVSTI                GENIO CAESARIS                GENIO IMPERATORIS              GENIO EXERCITVS
This coin: Licinius at Antioch. 21-20 mm. This coin: Maximinus II at Cyzicus. 27 mm. This coin: Licinus at Antioch. 24-22 mm. This coin: Constantine at Antioch

   (Click the reverses above to go the coin with both sides illustrated below.)

The rulers with at least one of these types are Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, Constantius, Severus II (hereafter abbreviated to "Severus"), Maximinus II (hereafter abbreviated to "Maximinus"), Constantine, Licinius, and Maxentius (He has only GENIO POP ROM from Lugdunum which is very rare).


 


Reverse legends. Examples of each are below in order after this list of the nine follis types. Genius appears from western mints only with legends GENIO POPVLI ROMANI and GENIO POP ROM. The other legends were used at eastern mints--never west of Ticinum. The legends on folles include the three at the top of this page:

•  GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (here) all mints

•  GENIO AVGG ET CAESARVM NN (here) only at Cyzicus
•  GENIO POP ROM (here) mints under Constantine, in the west only

The four above from eastern mints:

•  GENIO AVGVSTI (here) emphasizing the Augusti, but also issued for the Caesars
•  GENIO CAESARIS (here) emphasizing the Caesars, but also issued for the Augusti
•  GENIO IMPERATORIS (here) issued for all the current rulers, and
•  GENIO EXERCITVS "Spirit of the Army" (here) only at Antioch (issued for all the current rulers).

The two other types are scarce:


•  BONO GENIO PII IMPERATORIS (here) only at Alexandria.
•  GENIO FIL AVG (here) only for Constantine and only at Antioch.  

 

The types. All the Genius types are illustrated next.

GENIO POPVLI ROMANI has its own pages. There are two denominations with this legend--the follis and the less-common "quarter-follis" only from Siscia. 


Diocletian
28 mm. 10.15 grams.
IMP DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG
AQP in exergue
RIC Aquileia 23a "c. 296"

This type is very common. This legend has its own pages.



GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, a "quarter-follis", illustrated to scale with the previous follis.

Galerius
19 mm. 2.29 grams. Much smaller than a follis. A quarter-follis
MAXIMIANVS AVG
GENIO POPVLI ROMANI
SIS in exergue
RIC VI Siscia 169b, "305-306." RIC says "R2," but very many have been found since RIC was written. 


This denomination was issued only at Siscia and only 305-306. The five rulers named on this denomiantion are the four rulers of the Second Tetrarchy (Constantius, Galerius, Maximinus, and Severus) and Maximian. It has its own page


 
GENIO AVGG ET CAESARVM NN. This legend was used only at Cyzicus and only for Caesars, not Augusti.


Constantius
27 mm. 8.43 grams.
FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES
GENIO AVGG ET CAESARVM NN

KB

RIC VI Cyzicus 11a "c. 297-299"

An example for Severus as Caesar under the Second Tetrarchy is below.


GENIO POP ROM. This type was begun by Constantine. His principal mint was Trier. The type differs from the others in depicting Genius with his loins draped and boots. There are rare GENIO POPVLI ROMANI coins from London with even more clothing. (An off-site example.)
 

Constantine as Caesar
28-26 mm. 
FL VAL CONSTANTINVS NOB C
GENIO POP ROM
Loins draped and boots.
S   A
 PTR

RIC VI Trier 719b "c. summer 307"

This denomination got smaller and smaller until the last issue, shared with Licinius, is only 20 mm. 
 

For much more about GENIO POP ROM, see this page devoted to the type.
 
 

GENIO AVGVSTI. There are four different things that Genius holds: a patera, Victory on a globe (this coin), the head of Serapis, or the head of Sol


Licinius
21-20 mm. 4.69 grams,
IMP C LIC LICINNIVS PF AVG
(Spelled with two N's)
GENIO AVGVSTI
Genius holds Victory on globe and cornucopia

   S
ANT

RIC VI Antioch 162a "311-312"

[Additional examples]


GENIO CAESARIS


Maximinus
27 mm. 
GAL VAL MAXIMINVS NOB CAES
GENIO CAESARIS

MKΓ

RIC VI Cyzicus 34 "c. 308" 
 



GENIO IMPERATORIS


Licinius
24-22 mm. 6.21 grams.
IMP C LIC LICINNIVS PF AVG
(with two N's, which is not the spelling adopted later)
GENIO IMPERATORIS

flaming altar at feet left

    I
ANT

RIC VI Antioch 133b



GENIO EXERCITVS.  Only c. 310-311 only at Antioch, for Galerius, Licinius, Maximinus as Caesar, and Constantine as Augustus.


Constantine as Augustus.
24 mm.
IMP FL VAL CONSTANTINVS PF AVG
GENIO EXERCITVS
altar at feet

<crescent>  Є
   ANT

RIC VI Antioch 147d "310-311"
 
 

Rarer Types.  Two types are much less common. 

BONO GENIO PII IMPERATORIS. This legend is scarce because it was used only at Alexandria and only c. 311-312. It was issued for Licinius, Maximinus, and Constantine. The mint of Alexandria belonged to Maximinus and coins with this reverse are almost all in his name.

Maximinus as Augustus
24 mm.
IMP C GAL  VAL MAXIMINVS PF AVG

BONO GENIO PII IMPERATORIS
    B
K  X
 ALE
RIC VI Alexandria --, as 144b "c. 311-312" but lacking the fieldmark crescent in the upper left field.

 

GENIO FIL AVGG. One more rare Genius legend was issued only at Antioch and only in the name of Constantine: 


Constantine
24 mm.
FL VAL CONSTANTINVS FIL AVG

GENIO FIL AVGG
    O
    Є
ANT•


RIC VI Antioch 105 "c. early to later 309". 
 

 

The title "FIL AVGG" ("son of the Augusti") was awarded to Constantine and Maximinus by Galerius and may explain the use of GENIO IMPERATORIS at mints of Galerius. Because Galerius did not regard them as either Caesars or Augusti, rather with this intermediate rank, the legend with IMPERATORIS could include all the current rulers in one legend. This coin has obverse title FIL AVG, not Augustus or Caesar. For much more about the episode when Galerius awarded the title "FIL AVGG" to Constantine and Maximian, see the page on FIL AVGG coins.


Summary. These nine legends complete the list of Genius reverse legends on folles (There are two more Genius types of small "Civic" issues under Maximinus, next). Most were issued at several mints for all the current rulers. Most were issued with some minor varieties of the reverse design (like the altar at the feet of Genius on the GENIO IMPERATORIS type above). If we factor in all the emperors, mints, control marks, and bust varieties, there are very many different types and varieties. 
 
 

Anonymous civic issues under Maximinus II (AD 310-313).  Civic issues, sometimes called "pagan" issues, are quite different and have their own page. Two have legends including the word "GENIO".  The coins are much smaller than the previous folles. 
 

16-15 mm. End of 311 to December 312, under Maximinus 
GENIO AN-TIOCNENI, Antioch seated facing, river god swimming below
APOLLONI-SANCTO, Apollo holding patera and lyre
     B 
SMA in exergue (Sacra Moneta Antioch).
Vagi 2954. van Heesch, type 3, plate 11.3. (96 examples)  [All photos are the same scale.]

Not in RIC, but common anyway.

van Heesch (1975) was able to use the mintmarks and especially the large number of active officina (11 officina from A to IA) to show that the whole series was from the time of the persecutions of Christians under Maximinus (May 310 to July 311), not Julian II (360-363). In his 1993 article he revised the date to between the end of 311 and December 312, a period of renewed persecutions of Christians.

17 mm.
No legend, either side, but there is a type precisely like it (I don't have one to show) except with legends:
GENIO CIVITATVS/APOLLOINI SANCTO, which confirms the mint is Antioch.

Veiled and turreted head of Tyche right
Apollo standing left holding patera and lyre.
Vagi 2957. van Heesch type 5, plate 11.8 (2 examples)
[This type without legend was first published--as unique--in August 1986 in the sale catalog Elsen 91, lot 366.]
The type with legends on both sides is Vagi 2956 and van Heesch type 4, plate 11.4.

 
 

Design Varieties.  Not counting mint marks and control marks, there are some design varieties of special interest. 

•   Altar at feet (above
•   Genius holds Victory (above)   
•   Genius holds head of Serapis 
•   Genius holds head of Sol
•   Eagle at feet
•   Issued for the ruler as FIL AVGG
•   Legend extended with
 CMH(?) 


GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, Genius holds head of Serapis

Constantine.
21 mm. 6.03 grams.
FL VALER CONSTANTINVS PF AVG
GENIO POPVLI ROMANI
(At this late date this legend is unusual. Most GENIO POPVLI ROMANI coins are much earlier.)


Genius holds head of Serapis

II  Δ
<palm>  R
ALE

RIC VII Alexandria 4 "313-314" 


GENIO AVGVSTI, Genius holds head of Serapis

Constantine
23-22 mm. 5.19 grams.
FL VALER CONSTANTINVS PF AVG
GENIO AVGVSTI
Genius holds head of Serapis

<crescent>  A
X
  ALE

RIC VI Alexandria 153 "312"
 
GENIO AVGVSTI with Genius holds head of Sol.



Maximinus
21 mm. 4.54 grams.
IMP C GAL  VAL MAXIMINVS PF AVG
Genius holds head of Sol.

✳  S
ANT

RIC VI Antioch 164b "312"



GENIO AVGVSTI, eagle at feet

Maximinus
21 mm. 4.80 grams.
IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS PF AVG
GENIO AVGVSTI
eagle at feet

     Δ
SMHT   (Sacra Moneta Heraclea Thracia)

RIC VI Heraclea 76 (only for Maximinus "after his capture of Heraclea, 313") "early 313 - May 313"

The eagle is an attribute of Jupiter. It is uncommon on these Genius types, but extremely common a bit later on the following IOVI CONSERVATORI types. 

This and the previous coin show some surface-silvering, which does not often remain on issues this late. 
 

GENIO CAESARIS with FIL AVGG title. Among all the Roman rulers only Constantine and Maximinus ever had coins with the title FIL AVGG.


Maximinus 
MAXIMINVS•FIL•AVGG
GENIO CAESARIS

✳   Δ
•SM•TS•

RIC VI Thessalonica 32a "308"


For much more about about the period when the FIL AVGG title was used, see the page "Constantine as Caesar and FIL AVG."



Legend extended with CMH. Is this a monogram of CMH?  The legend GENIO AVGVSTI is extended with this monogram, which most authors say is "CMH", at Nicomedia and Cycius. The legend GENIO CAESARIS is extended with CMH at Nicomedia.  

Maximinus
22 mm.
IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS PF AVG
GENIO AVGVSTI  .
If that is "CMH" as many authors seem to think, it might be that the "MH" is "48" (in Greek) and they were struck 48 to the Roman pound. Failmezger speculates the "C" might mean the value is 100 sestertii. Don't regard this as certain. SMNB in exergue.

RIC VI Nicomedia 66c "c. May 310 - c. May 311". 


 

Additional Examples.

GENIO AVGG ET CAESARVM NN. This type was issued only for the Caesars and only at Cyzicus. It began during the First Tetrarchy and continued for the Caesars of the Second Tetrarchy. 


Severus as Caesar, 305-306, during the Second Tetrarchy.
27-26 mm. 9.32 grams.
GENIO AVGG ET CAESARVM NN


RIC VI Cyzicus 20a "305-306" i.e. during the Second Tetrarchy.



GENIO POP ROM. This type was initiated by Constantine who controlled the Trier mint. Maximinus was the eastern Caesar and was included. 

Maximinus
25 mm. 6.28 grams.
GAL VAL MAXIMINVS NOB C
Bust right with portrait that looks like Constantine's.
GENIO POP ROM
Loins draped and boots.

S   A
 PTR

RIC VI Trier 720a. "c. summer 307"

This is the first issue. The legend continued in production until 316 [RIC] or 315 [Schulten], by which time it was only 20 mm (the next coin).



Licinius
20 mm. 2.89 grams.
GENIO POP ROM
Loins draped and boots
T   F
BTR

RIC VII Trier 120 "316".
Schulten "16th emission, 313/315." 
This type begins c. summer 307 with much larger pieces. The smaller the diameter, the later the coin, although RIC thinks some are smaller because they are "half-follis" pieces (Trier 737-738). 

 


Licinius
21-18 mm. 2.73 grams.
IMP LICINIVS P AVG
GENIO POP ROM
TF    ✳
   PLG

RIC VII Lyons 49 "r5, 315-6."

 
 
This is the last GENIO POP ROM issue at Lyon. The field marks are almost exclusively on SOLI INVICTO COMITI coins of Constantine, with the exception of Licinius on three (because of different obverse legends) "r5" and "r4" GENIO POP ROM numbers for Licinius only.


GENIO POP ROM with Galerius as Augustus.

Galerius
26 mm. 6.63 grams.
IMP MAXIMIANVS PF AVG  [Identical with a legend sometimes used by Maximian]
GENIO POP ROM
S  A across field
PTR in exergue
RIC VI -- confer page 217. Reverse of 766-769 but obverse legend of 772b. This issue is shared with Constantine and dated to "autumn 307-end of 308." Other obverse legends in this issue clearly belong to Maximian (e.g. IMP C M AVREL MAXIMIANVS PF AVG) as active second-reign augustus. The portrait looks like Galerius rather than Maximian. This obverse legend is also used by Maximian, but at this time and place it apparently belongs to Galerius.


GENIO AVGVSTI with Genius holding head of Serapis.

Maximinus
23 mm.
IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS PF AVG
GENIO AVGVSTI
X  Γ
ALE

RIC VI Alexandria 149b "312"


GENIO AVGVSTI, with Genius holding Victory on globe.

Maximinus
22 mm. 

IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS PF AVG
GENIO AVGVSTI with Genius holding Victory on globe.
✳   Γ
ANT

RIC VI Antioch 162b "311-312"


GENIO IMPERATORIS

Maximinus II, as Junior Augustus
25 mm. 7.15 grams.
IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS PF IVN AVG
GENIO IMPERATORIS
  *   crescent
  HTΔ

RIC VI Heraclea 61, "c. 311"

Heraclea was a mint of Galerius. After Carnuntum he recognized Licinius as Augustus, Maximinus as Caesar, and Constantine was ignored. Maximinus remained Caesar until c. May 310, at which time Galerius finally relented and recognized both Constantine and Maximinus II as Augusti, but styled them junior (IVN) Augusti. That is an uncommon title. There were then, at that mint, four Augusti and no Caesars.
 
 

Notes.  

GENIO POPVLI ROMANI has its own follis page and its own page for quarter-folles. Mostly discontinued c. 307, but it was revived twice--once at Rome for Constantine, Maximinus, and Licinius, as Augusti, after the Battle at the Milvian Bridge in late 312 and a second time in a reduced module at Alexandria for Licinius and Constantine after the death of Maximinus in 313.

GENIO AVGG ET CAESARVM NN. Issued only at Cyzicus and only for Caesars. Under the First Tetrarchy it was issued in the names of Constantius and Galerius as Caesars. Under the Second Tetrarchy it was issued in the names of Maximinus and Severus as Caesars, and later in the name of Constantine as Caesar. 

GENIO POP ROM.  c. 307 Constantine's mints replaced GENIO POPVLI ROMANI with this shorter legend and replaced the naked Genius with Genius depicted with loins draped and boots. Some mints discontinued GENIO POPVLI ROMANI earlier. For example, Rome changed its main type to SACRA MONETA c. 301 to accompany the Edict on Maximium Prices. GENIO POP ROM was issued at London, Trier, and Lyons (and Ostia after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge). The type continued as late as 316 [RIC] or 315 [Schulten] for Constantine as Caesar and as Augustus, Licinius as Augustus (he was never just Caesar), Maximian as Augustus and as Senior Augustus, Galerius as Augustus, Maximinus as Caesar and as Augustus at Ostia. 

After the death of Galerius in 311 the "Genius types were principally a characteristic of mints controlled by Maximinus."  [RIC VI, p. 53]


GENIO AVGVSTI.  Late 307 -312 for Galerius as Augustus, Licinius as Augustus, Constantine as Augustus and as FIL AVGG, Maximinus as Caesar and as FIL AVGG. Eight eastern mints. Legend extended by CMH monogram for Galerius as Augustus, Licinius, Maximinus as Augustus, and Constantine as Augustus. 

GENIO CAESARIS.  c. Spring 307 - 311 for Galerius as Augustus, Licinius, Constantine as Caesar as Augustus and as FIL AVG, Maximinus as Caesar and as FIL AVGG and as Augustus. Eight eastern mints.

GENIO IMPERATORIS.  c. Spring 307 - 310 for Galerius as Augustus, Licinius, Maximinus as Caesar and as Augustus, Constantine as Augustus and as FIL AVG. For eastern mints.

GENIO EXERCITVS.  Only c. 310-311 only at Antioch. For Galerius as Augustus, Licinius, Maximinus as Caesar, and Constantine as Augustus.


BONO GENIO PII IMPERATORIS. Only at Alexandria and only c. 311-312, for Licinius, Maximinus, and Constantine, all as Augusti. One example for Maximinus II as Caesar, not in RIC, was on Victor's Imperial Coins vcoins site in March 2020. 

GENIO FIL AVGG. Only for Constantine as FIL AVGG, only at Antioch. For more see the long page on FIL AVG coins
 


References.

RIC VI.  Roman Imperial Coinage, Volume VI, From Diocletian's reform (A.D. 294) to the death of Maximinus (A.D. 313), by C. H. V. Sutherland. 1973. Many varieties have been discovered since this book was published, but there is no easy way know more than is in this book. Many collectors use RIC solely to provide identification numbers, but it has far more interesting information than just that, including lots of history and chronology with relevant coin evidence.

RIC VII.  Roman Imperial Coinage, Volume VII, Constantine and Licinius, A.D. 313-337, by Patrick M. Bruun. 1966. This book begins after the deaths of the eastern rulers Galerius and Maximinus. Only Constantine and Licinius remain. Few Genius types are issued this late. They are: GENIO POP ROM for Licinius and Constantine at London and Arles, and for Licinius at Lyon and Trier (Constantine was using SOLI INVICTO COMITI); GENIO AVGVSTI CMH for Licinius and Constantine at Cyzicus 313-315;  GENIO POPVLI ROMANI for Licinius and Constantine at Alexandria 313-314; a reduced-size GENIO POPVLI ROMANI for Constantine and Licinius at Alexandria. 

Failmezger, Victory "Tory." Roman Bronze Coins from Paganism to Christianity, 294-364 A.D.  A complete list of types (but not mints, varieties, and RIC numbers) from the coin reform to 364, with very many color photos and short outlines of the history, with chapters on collectible types like the "fallen horseman" coins of the coin reform of 348. I love this book and use it to keep track of types.

Schulten, Peter J. Die Römische Münzstätte Trier. 1974. Paperback. 52 pages and ten plates. 

Vagi, David. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. 1999. Two volumes.

van Heesch, Johan. "The last civic coinages and the religious policy of Maximinus Daza, A.D. 312," Numismatic Chronicle, 153, 1993, p. 65-76.

 


The end


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