Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Collection Roman Collection
Catalog Number 2015.7.143
Object Name Coin
Description Roman Imperial coin, bronze, antoninianus. Struck during the reign of Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus, 253-268 C.E. The radiate head of Gallienus faces right in profile, on obverse with the inscriptions "GALLIENVS AVG" surrounding image. On reverse, the standing figure of Fortuna, the goddess and personification of fortune and luck, faces left and holds a rudder on a globe in her left hand (or a caduceus) and a cornucopia in her right with the inscriptions "FORTVNA REDVX" surrounding image. Obverse and reverse inscriptions based on Sear reference; coin is irregularly shaped rendering the inscriptions illegible.
Date range: 235-268 C.E.

Remarks: The son of Valerian, Gallienus was made co-emperor soon after his father's elevation. After the capture of Valerian by the Persians, Gallienus found himself sole ruler of an empire subject not only to fierce barbarian attacks from without, but rent by internal revolts, famine, and plagues, and the history of his reign is largely made up of frontier wars and contests with provincial usurpers. His reign also marked the further debasement of the antoninianus which, already reduced to a bronze coin with a silver wash before the end of the joint reign, continued to decline in size and weight during his sole reign. Gallienus was not the man to reconstitute an empire showing every sign of disintegration, and after a succession of campaigns he was eventually murdered at the siege of Milan in March, 268 C.E., being in his fiftieth year. The future emperors Claudius and Aurelian were both involved in the conspiracy of Illyrian officers which led to the assassination. Gallienus' coins during his sole reign were minted in Rome, Milan, Siscia, and possibly Cyzicus and Antioch.

Updated Reference: David Sear, "Roman Coins and Their Values", (Vol III, 2005), #10220, pg 291. (Also compare with #10431, Billon denarius, for reverse description. I believe #10220 depicts her holding a caduceus, not a rudder.)

Reference: David Sear, Roman Coins and their Values (1970), #2859. (Note: coin has been clipped on edge, so entire inscription is not readable, but matches iconography of #2859)
Title Gallienus
Date 253-268 CE
Material Bronze
Dimensions Dia-0.75 inches
Credit line Gift of Arthur G. and Roswitha Haas
Subjects Roman Empire
Ancient Rome