Roman Emperors & Their Coins
First published April, 2010
This is the first in a series of articles about the Roman Emperors, their
stories, families, friends, lovers, enemies, and the coins that were issued
during their times. Although each topic will center on an emperor and the
people, politics, assassinations, wars, murders, myths, religions, insanity,
avarice, arrogance, and delusions that might have been, the heart of each
article will be the coins. Each coin being the fingerprint left behind,
and, in some cases, the only evidence of their having ruled.
Coins create a bridge to the past. They place a small piece of history
in the palm of our hands. When mixed with imagination, they become accessible,
interesting, and artful little time machines.
Take for example the URBS ROMA coins shown above (VRBS ROMA is Classical
Latin for City of Rome; URBS ROMA is Modern Latin's use of the U for V.).
They were issued by Constantine between 330 to 334 AD. These coins were
shiny and new when priests claimed that Constantine converted to Christianity
on his deathbed in 337 AD. All thought the claim was made by a Christian
priest who was alone with Constantine at the moment of his death.
No one knows for sure. There is evidence to support that he did and
did not convert. The momentum of history has relegated the debate
The coin on the left speaks to Constantine's Pagan roots depicting helmeted
Roma obverse and Romulus and Remus suckling at the wolf on the reverse,
while the coin on the right depicts Constantine's Christian interests with
the Chi Rho symbolizing Christianity on the reverse. These coins
are not the only evidence that Constantine ruled during a period when Pagan
and Christian dominance and influence was in flux, and that Constantine
used both sides to his advantage.
These coins cost me around $25 US each. There are varieties of these
coins that are very common. Many are available to the collector on
a budget. I've paid as little as $2.50 for an VRBS ROMA coin.
I will leave the rest for my article on Constantine the Great and how he
ordered the execution of his eldest son Crispus (326 AD) for treason and
his second wife Fausta (327 AD) for... For what? What was it? I'm not sure.
I'll try to find out for my article on Constantine the Great and the coins
he issued, but I suspect that boiling her in water makes motive a mute
point by shining light on his character.
I enjoy the history of the ancient past as well as the history that is
unfolding around us today. I love collecting the coins, new and old, that
symbolize, describe, and connect to the people, places and happenings that
make up our history. I want to share with you the pleasure I enjoy examining
and touching these ancient metal sculptures. Beyond being wonderful educational
tools, they are the craft and art of often unnamed
By: Anthony Ballatore
Roman Emperors & their Coins
Ancient Roman Coins On Ebay
When, where & why were coins first made?
The Story of Romulus and Remus & The Birth of Rome
The Roman Republic
Julius Caesar and the Death of the Republic
Augustus Caesar: The First Roman Emperor
Tiberius Caesar: The First Julio-Claudian Heir
Caligula: The first really crazy Caesar
8) Claudius: A level headed Caesar?
9) Nero: The Last Julio-Claudian Heir
Websites worth knowing:
By far the single best location for identifying, evaluating, and touring
ancient coins. This link will direct you to their seach engines. Enjoy.
Along with WildWinds, this is a site of the highest regard, accurate
information, and ethical policies; 'AUTHENTICITY GUARANTEED FOR ETERNITY'
says it all.
Frank S. Robinson is a unique individual. I have more respect for Mr.
Robinson than any other coin dealer. His book 'The Case for Rational
Optimism' (2009) will most likely leave you with this same perspective.
If his book doesn't, dealing with him will. He is often mistaken for Neil
J. Berk, Ltd.
Located in Chicago, Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. is an excellent location for
both common and rare coins; often of
Reid Goldsborough's web pages are well written, educational, the first
site to read regarding counterfiet coins. This site is hosted for free
A commercial coin and information site established December 3, 1998.
Their code of ethics and years of operation speaks loudly.
Another commercial coin and information site.
One of our sites dedicated to pens, ink, quills, books, writing, reading,
history, and anything else that envolves language, art, and ideas.
individuals that worked over, considered, and
created every detail of the dies that were used to produce them. These
coins were created by people just like you and me; each a person living
under the same Moon and stars, standing on the same Earth, breathing from
the same bubble of air as we do today. Coins connect us directly with a
small group of our ancestors who had dreams and desires just like we have
today. Make the connection yet? I intent to help with that.
There is a list of links above to the first 9 articles in this series.
They include the advent of coins on Earth, the birth of Rome, the Roman
Republic, Julius Caesar, and the first five emperors of the Julio-Claudian
dynasty. I will continue with the Emperors that followed right through
to the end of the great Pax Romana (Latin for 'Roman Peace').