CONSTANTINE I THE GREAT
AE3. 3.45g, 20mm
MINTED: Constantinople mint, AD 328
REF: RIC VII Constantinople 32, officina uncertain (Z?)
OBVERSE: CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, rosette-diademed head right, gazing upwards toward Heaven.
REVERSE: CONSTANTINI-ANA DAFNE, Victory seated left, head right, on cippus, holding laurel branch and palm branch and placing foot on kneeling captive, trophy behind captive; CONS in exergue, uncertain officina letter (Z?) in left field.
Ex stock Harlan J. Berk
Fine. Surface roughness but clear enough types. An affordable example of a scarce and very interesting issue, struck only at Constantinople. The legend and iconography of the reverse type commemorates Constantine's defeat of Licinius and his ultimate victory in the civil wars that followed the collapse of the Tetrarchy. Accompanied by a less common 'Eyes to Heaven' portrait. Of this portrait style used by Constantine, the 4th century Christian historian Eusebius writes, "How deeply his soul was impressed by the power of divine faith may be understood from the circumstance that he directed his likeness to be stamped on the golden coin of the empire with eyes uplifted as in the posture of prayer to God: and this money became current throughout the Roman world."
Constantine was the son of Constantius I, one of the two junior co-rulers serving under emperors Diocletian and Maximian during the First Tetrarchy. During the civil strife that began with the collapse of the Tetrarchic institution, Constantine, with the support of his late father's legions and a number of opportunistic political alliances, saw his power grow from strength to strength. By successively defeating the emperors Maximian, Maxentius, and Licinius, he made himself the sole master of the Roman Empire by AD 324.
Constantine was the first Roman emperor to openly support Christianity and become a Christian. He founded the great city of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and made it the new centre of his Empire, from where he ruled for a further thirteen years until his death in AD 337. Assessment of Constantine as a man and emperor has been polarised since ancient times. He has been seen by some as a great military commander and hero, an empire rebuilder and reformer, and a paragon of Christian virtue. Others portray him as vain, greedy and suspicious, a master manipulator and tyrant who put to death his wife, father-in-law, eldest son, and numerous others.
CONSTANTINE I . AD 306-337 . AE3 . 'Eyes to Heaven' Dafne type . Ex HJ Berk
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