CONSTANTINE I THE GREAT
AE Follis. 2.93g, 19.4mm
MINTED: Ticinum mint, AD 316
REF: RIC VII Ticinum 45
OBVERSE: IMP CONSTANTINVS PF AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right.
REVERSE: SOLI INVI-C-TO COMITI, Sol radiate, standing left, raising right hand, globe in left hand, chlamys across left shoulder; cross in left field, star in right, ST in exergue.
Choice Very Fine.
Historically interesting early use of the Christian cross on coinage. Constantine the Great was the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire, and the first to employ Christian symbols on his coins. Of those used in the 4th century, the Chi-Rho was the most common. The plain cross, such as the one featured on the reverse of this coin, was more scarce.
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 . AE Follis . Sol . Early use of the Christian cross
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