Object Record

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Collection Roman Collection
Catalog Number 2015.7.114
Object Name Coin
Description Roman Imperial coin, bronze, AE 4. Struck during the joint reign of Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans I in honor of their grandmother Helena (c. 246/50 - c.327/30 C.E.) after her death, in Treveri (Trier), 337-340 C.E. The draped bust of Helena wears a diadem and faces right in profile, on obverse with the inscriptions "FL IVL HELENAE AVG" surrounding image. On reverse, the standing figure of Pax, the goddess and personification of peace, faces left and holds an olive branch in her lowered left hand a scepter in her right with the possible inscriptions "SECVRITAS REIPUBLICE" left and right of image and "TRP" in the exergum. Obverse and reverse images and inscriptions based on Sear reference; coins slightly damaged and faded rendering images and inscriptions illegible.
Date range: 337-340 C.E.

Remarks: Born c. 246-250 C.E., she met and married Constantius I around 270 and gave birth to Constantine I c. 272. Constantius was obliged to divorce her in c. 289-293 to marry Theodora, the step-daughter of Maximianus in the interest of strengthening political bonds. Helena and her son were dispatched to the court of Diocletian at Nicomedia, where Constantine grew to be a member of the inner circle. Helena never remarried and lived for a time in obscurity, though close to her only son, who had a deep regard and affection for her. Once Constantine I seized power, appointed his mother Helena as Augusta Imperatrix, and gave her unlimited access to the imperial treasury in order to locate the relics of Judeo-Christian tradition. She is credited with the discovery of the True Cross, the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. She is considered by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern and Latin Catholic churches, as well as by the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Churches as a saint, famed for her piety. She is sometimes known as Helen of Constantinople to distinguish her from others with similar names. Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans I's coins were minted in different locations including Ambianum, Treveri, Lugdunum, Arelate, Aquileia, Rome, Siscia, Sirmium, Thessalonica, Heraclea, Constantinople, Nicomedia, Cyzicus, Antioch, and Alexandria.

Reference: Sear, "Roman Coins and Their Values", (Vol IV, 2011), #16590, pg 513-517.
Title Helena
Date 337-340 CE
Material Bronze
Dimensions Dia-0.625 inches
Credit line Gift of Arthur G. and Roswitha Haas
Place of Origin Europe/Germany/Trier
Subjects Roman Empire
Antiquities
Ancient Rome