Magnentius (AD 350 - AD 353)

Flavius Magnus Magnentius was a Roman usurper (January 18, 350 – August 11, 353). Born in Samarobriva (Amiens), Gaul, Magnentius was the commander of the Herculians and Iovians, the imperial guard units. When the army grew dissatisfied with the behaviour of Roman Emperor Constans, it elevated Magnentius at Autun on January 18, 350. Constans was abandoned by all except a handful of retainers, and he was slain shortly afterwards by a troop of light cavalry near the Pyrenees. Magnentius quickly attracted the loyalty of the provinces in Britannia, Gaul, and Hispania, in part because he proved to be far more tolerant towards both Christians and Pagans. His control on Italia and Africa was applied through the election of his men to the most important offices. However, the short-lived revolt of Nepotianus, a member of the Constantinian dynasty, showed Magnentius that his status of Emperor was to be consolidated against the members of that dynasty. After electing Magnus Decentius (probably his brother) to Caesar and gathering as many troops as possible, the armies of Magnentius and Constantius met in the Battle of Mursa Major in 351; Magnentius led his troops into battle, while Constantius spent the day of battle praying in a nearby church. Despite Magnentius' heroism, his troops were defeated and forced to retreat back to Gaul. As a result of Magnentius' defeat, Italy ejected his garrisons and rejoined the loyalist cause. Magnentius made a final stand in 353 in the Battle of Mons Seleucus, after which he committed suicide by falling on his sword.

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Magnentius 'Joyful Republic' AE3 022681

Magnentius 'Joyful Republic' AE3
Bronze, 4.00 grams, 21.84 mm. Trier. 350-353 AD. Obverse: IM CAE MAGNENTIVS AVG, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right. Reverse: FELICITAS REIPVBLICE, emperor in military dress standing left, holding Victory and standard, A in right field. Mintmark TRS crescent in exergue. RIC VIII Trier 266; cf Sear 4018. Good very fine/extremely fine.
£45.00

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Magnentius 'Joyful Republic' AE3 022681
Magnentius 'Victories and Wreath' AE3 022147

Magnentius 'Victories and Wreath' AE3
Bronze, 5.48 grams, 21.78 mm. Trier. 350-353 AD. Obverse: DN MAGNEN-TIVS PF AVG, bare-headed, draped, cuirassed bust right, A behind head. Reverse: VICTORIAE DD NN AVG ET CAE, two Victories facing one another, holding between them a wreath inscribed VOT-V-MVLT-X, supported on a column, mintmark TRP in exergue. RIC VIII Trier 307; Sear 4023. Extremely fine.
£110.00

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Magnentius 'Victories and Wreath' AE3 022147
Magnentius 'Two Victories' Half Centenionalis 018774

Magnentius 'Two Victories' Half Centenionalis
Bronze, 4.66 grams, 21.83 mm. Trier. 312 AD. Obverse: DN MAGNEN-TIVS PF AVG, bare-headed, draped, cuirassed bust right, A behind head. Reverse: VICTORIAE DD NN AVG ET CAES, two Victories facing one another, holding between them a wreath inscribed VOT-V-MVLT-X between them. Mintmark TRP in exergue. RIC VIII Trier 312; Sear 4026. Extremely fine.
£90.00

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Magnentius 'Two Victories' Half Centenionalis 018774
Magnentius 'Barbaric Votive' Centenionalis. 008542

Magnentius 'Barbaric Votive' Centenionalis.
Bronze, 4.68 grams; 20.22 mm. Amiens. 350 A.D. Obverse: DN MAGNEN-TIVS PF AVG, Bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right; A behind bust. Reverse: VICTORIAE DD NN AVG ET CAE, Two Victories standing facing each other, holding between them a wreath inscribed VOT V MVLT X in four lines, no column below. Garbled mintmark AMB in exergue. RIC VIII Amiens 9, rated Rare in RIC. Almost very fine.

These coins of Magnentius were very popular with ancient imitators of the time. This is a nice example with the imitative clues being Magnentius's lips and chin, the tightly and poorly engraved MVLT X and droopy top leaves of the wreath.
£35.00

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Magnentius 'Barbaric Votive' Centenionalis. 008542
Magnentius 'Emperor Spearing Enemy' Centenionalis 011442

Magnentius 'Emperor Spearing Enemy' Centenionalis
Bronze, 4.30 grams; 22.25 mm. Trier. 350-353 A.D. Obverse: DN MAGNEN-TIVS PF AVG, Bare-headed, draped, cuirassed bust right; A behind bust. Reverse: GLORIA ROMANORVM, Emperor on horseback, galloping right, shield on left arm, spearing barbarian with outstretched arms kneeling left before the horse; shield and broken spear beneath horse. RIC VIII Trier, 269-271. Good very fine.
£80.00

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Magnentius 'Emperor Spearing Enemy' Centenionalis 011442
Magnentius 'Superb Barbaric Imitation' AE3 005214

Rare Magnentius 'Superb Barbaric Imitation' AE3
Bronze, 1.62 grams; 14.70 mm. German mint, imitiative of Trier. 350-352 A.D. Obverse: DU NCIII-AS AVG, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right. Reverse: garbled legend (imitating VICT DD NN AVG ET CAES), Two Victories facing one another, holding between them a wreath inscribed O/OTI (imitating VOT-V-MVLT-X) supported on a column. CTI retrograde S in exergue (imitating TRS). Ancient imitation of RIC VIII Trier 316C. Rare in this quality. Good very fine.
£60.00

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Magnentius 'Superb Barbaric Imitation' AE3 005214


Main Roman Coin Book and Other References:

RIC = Mattingly, Harold    The Roman Imperial Coinage
BMC = Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum
RSC = Seaby, H A    Roman Silver Coinage
RCV = Sear, David R    Roman Coins and Their Values
Cr = Crawford, Michael    The Roman Republican Coinage
SB = Sear, David R    Byzantine Coins and Their Values
S = Coins of England and the United Kingdom
WW = Wildwinds.com (reference & attribution site)



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