"When in Rome": Ancient Roman Coin Necklace (Constantius II/Soldiers) B
*Note: These coins are identified to the best of my ability using any letters/symbols that are visibly available, and searching against a numismatic database. Please note that while I try incredibly hard to correctly identify them, I am just a hobbyist -- not an expert. Each coin is hand cleaned by me in a process that takes months of soaking, toothpicking, and toothbrushing. Colorization is natural patina from old age that is valued by coin collectors, and I have protected it with Renaissance wax. Because these coins are around 2000 years old and spend hundreds of years buried in the ground, there will be imperfections in surface, patina, and shape. My coins mostly come from the Balkans, and are discovered in buried hoards by farmers tilling soil.
Materials in Bezel/Bail/Chain: Sterling Silver
Chain and Closure: 16", dainty, lobster claw closure with small jump ring
Specific Coin Identification: RIC VII Thessalonica 185 (I THINK! This coin, while having a beautiful blue patina, is slightly harder to identify because of said beautiful patina. But, it's exceedingly similar to its sister coin of which I am confident of my identification.)
Obverse: "FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C"
Reverse: "GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS"
Emperor in Power: Constantine I (Father)
Emperor Bust on Coin: Constantius II (Son)
Deity/Image on Back: Two soldiers facing each other and two standards
Mint Date: 330-333 CE. This coin is ~1,678 years old.
Mint Location: Thessalonica (Macedonia)
Denomination: AE2/AE3 (Bronze)
This is an interesting coin because the emperor in 330 CE, Constantine I, is not featured on the coin. Rather, we see the bust of his son, Constantius II.
330 CE was an exciting time for Constantine the Great and his family. He was sole emperor (finally! See my Licinius coins FOR THAT story), he had embraced Christianity, and he had JUST founded a new city; Maybe you've heard of Constantinople? Wow, if only we could all be so powerful as to name a whole capital city after ourselves. Anyway, I digress.
With the founding of Constantinople also came the split of the massive Roman Empire into East and West. Rome was the center of the Western part of the Empire, while Constantinople was the center of the Eastern half. Hence the symbolism of two soldiers and two standards on this coin, representing these two sides of the Empire, all under one supreme ruler.
That is until Constantine I's death in 334 CE when Constantius II *and his brothers* each became emperors of different parts of the Roman Empire. Siblings should NEVER attempt to share power... Let's leave it at that.
Anyway, why did Constantine I create Constantinople? Many scholars believe that he, a newly emerged Christian, wished to create a central city where the new religion could prosper outside of lascivious and dirty Rome. Interestingly, this worked; Greek Orthodox (the sect of Christianity practiced in the East) flourished and eventually gave birth to the successful Byzantine Empire. Western Rome was... Less successful (helllllloooo Dark Ages). Anyway, this whole move was one of the final nails of the proverbial coffin for the Roman Empire.