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Medallion of Constantius II, 337-361

Medallion of Constantius II, 337-361
Constantius II (A.D. 337-361)
Gold 4 Solidus Medallion from the mint of Thessalonike
(modern Thessaloniki, Greece)

Obverse Legend:
Reverse Legend:
Exergue: TES

A.D. 350-355
Gift of Maureen C. Mabbott in memory of Thomas O. Mabbott

Following the conversion of Constantine I to Christianity, the pagan gods ceased to appear on the coins and medallions of the Roman empire. The personifications were, however, retained. Thus the personification of Rome continued to be used, and from this arose a new type, the personification of Constantinople, the new capital of the Roman empire. This medallion shows that personification on the reverse (back). Constantinopolis is seated on a high-backed throne, wearing a long tunic and mantle. In her outstretched right hand she holds an orb on which stands the figure of Victory, holding out a wreath. On the obverse (front), the bust of the emperor Constantius II (337-361) faces left, wearing a cuirass beneath his cloak, which is fastened on his shoulder with a jeweled fibula (pin). On his head the emperor wears a diadem formed of two rows of pearls and a central medallion.

This medallion belongs with a group that glorified Constantinople. They were undoubtedly struck to be presented by the emperor as gifts in commemoration of a particular occasion, perhaps the vicennalia of Constantius, or the eleven hundredth anniversary of the founding of Rome. This particular medallion was minted in Thessalonica.

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