VETRANIO in the name of CONSTANTIUS II rare 350AD Ancient Roman Coin i39724
Item: i39724 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Vetranio – Roman Emperor: 350 A. Vetranio in The Name of Constantius II Bronze AE2 23mm (4.93 grams) Siscia Mint: 350 A. Reference: RIC 284 (VIII, Siscia) DN CONSTANTIVS P F AVG – Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; “A” behind bust, star in front. CONCORDIA MILITVM Exe: A/. Constantius II standing left, holding labarum in each hand. Numismatic Note: Vetranio struck these coins in the name of Constantius II, as a show of allegiance. The Chi Rho is one of the earliest christograms used by Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters in the Greek spelling of the word Christ (Greek :), chi = ch and rho = r, in such a way to produce the monogram. The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by pagan Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrston, meaning good. Although not technically a cross, the Chi Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ. There is early evidence of the Chi Rho symbol on Christian Rings of the third century. Was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the ” Chi-Rho ” symbol, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word ” Christ ” Greek. Or Chi and Rho . It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine I. Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolize crucifixion. The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrston, meaning good. 360, born in the province of Moesia in a part of the region located in modern Bulgaria , is sometimes but apparently incorrectly referred to as Vetriano. He was an experienced soldier and officer when he was asked by Constantina , the sister of Roman Emperor Constantius II , to proclaim himself Caesar (March 1, 350). Her brother Constans had been killed by Magnentius earlier that year and she probably thought Vetranio could protect her family and herself against the usurper. Vetranio accepted and coins were minted in his name, showing the title of Augustus (full emperor), rather than Caesar. Vetranio subsequently abdicated on December 25, 350. He was allowed to live the remainder of his years as a private citizen on a state pension. Labarum of Constantine I, displaying the “Chi-Rho” symbol above. The labarum was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the ” Chi-Rho ” symbol. Formed from the first two Greek letters of the word ” Christ ” Chi and Rho. Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolize the crucifixion of Christ. Later usage has sometimes regarded the terms “labarum” and “Chi-Rho” as synonyms. Ancient sources, however, draw an unambiguous distinction between the two. Beyond its derivation from Latin labarum , the etymology of the word is unclear. Some derive it from Latin /labre/’to totter, to waver’ (in the sense of the “waving” of a flag in the breeze) or laureum [vexillum] (“laurel standard”). According to the Real Academia Española , the related lábaro is also derived from Latin labrum but offers no further derivation from within Latin, as does the Oxford English Dictionary. An origin as a loan into Latin from a Celtic language or Basque has also been postulated. There is a traditional Basque symbol called the lauburu ; though the name is only attested from the 19th century onwards the motif occurs in engravings dating as early as the 2nd century AD. A coin of Constantine c. 337 showing a depiction of his labarum spearing a serpent. On the evening of October 27, 312, with his army preparing for the Battle of the Milvian Bridge , the emperor Constantine I claimed to have had a vision which led him to believe he was fighting under the protection of the Christian God. Lactantius states that, in the night before the battle, Constantine was commanded in a dream to “delineate the heavenly sign on the shields of his soldiers”. He obeyed and marked the shields with a sign “denoting Christ”. Lactantius describes that sign as a “staurogram”, or a Latin cross with its upper end rounded in a P-like fashion, rather than the better known Chi-Rho sign described by Eusebius of Caesarea. Thus, it had both the form of a cross and the monogram of Christ’s name from the formed letters “X” and “P”, the first letters of Christ’s name in Greek. From Eusebius, two accounts of a battle survive. The first, shorter one in the Ecclesiastical History leaves no doubt that God helped Constantine but doesn’t mention any vision. In his later Life of Constantine , Eusebius gives a detailed account of a vision and stresses that he had heard the story from the emperor himself. According to this version, Constantine with his army was marching somewhere (Eusebius doesn’t specify the actual location of the event, but it clearly isn’t in the camp at Rome) when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words. The traditionally employed Latin translation of the Greek is in hoc signo vinces literally In this sign, you will conquer. ” However, a direct translation from the original Greek text of Eusebius into English gives the phrase “By this, conquer! At first he was unsure of the meaning of the apparition, but the following night he had a dream in which Christ explained to him that he should use the sign against his enemies. Eusebius then continues to describe the labarum, the military standard used by Constantine in his later wars against Licinius , showing the Chi-Rho sign. Those two accounts can hardly be reconciled with each other, though they have been merged in popular notion into Constantine seeing the Chi-Rho sign on the evening before the battle. Both authors agree that the sign was not readily understandable as denoting Christ, which corresponds with the fact that there is no certain evidence of the use of the letters chi and rho as a Christian sign before Constantine. Its first appearance is on a Constantinian silver coin from c. 317, which proves that Constantine did use the sign at that time, though not very prominently. He made extensive use of the Chi-Rho and the labarum only later in the conflict with Licinius. The vision has been interpreted in a solar context e. As a solar halo phenomenon, which would have been reshaped to fit with the Christian beliefs of the later Constantine. An alternate explanation of the intersecting celestial symbol has been advanced by George Latura, which claims that Plato’s visible god in Timaeus is in fact the intersection of the Milky Way and the Zodiacal Light, a rare apparition important to pagan beliefs that Christian bishops reinvented as a Christian symbol. Eusebius’ description of the labarum. A Description of the Standard of the Cross, which the Romans now call the Labarum. ” “Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with gold, formed the figure of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones; and within this, the symbol of the Saviours name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of its initial characters, the letter P being intersected by X in its centre: and these letters the emperor was in the habit of wearing on his helmet at a later period. From the cross-bar of the spear was suspended a cloth, a royal piece, covered with a profuse embroidery of most brilliant precious stones; and which, being also richly interlaced with gold, presented an indescribable degree of beauty to the beholder. This banner was of a square form, and the upright staff, whose lower section was of great length, of the pious emperor and his children on its upper part, beneath the trophy of the cross, and immediately above the embroidered banner. The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his armies. Iconographic career under Constantine. Coin of Vetranio , a soldier is holding two labara. Interestingly they differ from the labarum of Constantine in having the Chi-Rho depicted on the cloth rather than above it, and in having their staves decorated with phalerae as were earlier Roman military unit standards. The emperor Honorius holding a variant of the labarum – the Latin phrase on the cloth means In the name of Christ [rendered by the Greek letters XPI] be ever victorious. Among a number of standards depicted on the Arch of Constantine , which was erected, largely with fragments from older monuments, just three years after the battle, the labarum does not appear. A grand opportunity for just the kind of political propaganda that the Arch otherwise was expressly built to present was missed. That is if Eusebius’ oath-confirmed account of Constantine’s sudden, vision-induced, conversion can be trusted. Many historians have argued that in the early years after the battle the emperor had not yet decided to give clear public support to Christianity, whether from a lack of personal faith or because of fear of religious friction. The arch’s inscription does say that the Emperor had saved the res publica. INSTINCTV DIVINITATIS MENTIS MAGNITVDINE. (“by greatness of mind and by instinct [or impulse] of divinity”). As with his predecessors, sun symbolism interpreted as representing Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun) or Helios , Apollo or Mithras is inscribed on his coinage, but in 325 and thereafter the coinage ceases to be explicitly pagan, and Sol Invictus disappears. In his Historia Ecclesiae Eusebius further reports that, after his victorious entry into Rome, Constantine had a statue of himself erected, holding the sign of the Savior [the cross] in his right hand. There are no other reports to confirm such a monument. Whether Constantine was the first Christian emperor supporting a peaceful transition to Christianity during his rule, or an undecided pagan believer until middle age, strongly influenced in his political-religious decisions by his Christian mother St. Helena , is still in dispute among historians. During the attack of Constantine’s troops at the Battle of Adrianople the guard of the labarum standard were directed to move it to any part of the field where his soldiers seemed to be faltering. Constantine felt that both Licinius and Arius were agents of Satan, and associated them with the serpent described in the Book of Revelation (12:9). Constantine represented Licinius as a snake on his coins. Eusebius stated that in addition to the singular labarum of Constantine, other similar standards (labara) were issued to the Roman army. This is confirmed by the two labara depicted being held by a soldier on a coin of Vetranio (illustrated) dating from 350. Modern ecclesiastical labara (Southern Germany). The emperor Constantine Monomachos (centre panel of a Byzantine enamelled crown) holding a miniature labarum. Flavius Iulius Constantius , known in English as Constantius II (7 August 317 November 3 361) was a Roman Emperor (337-361) of the Constantinian dynasty. Constanti us joins the lengthy list of emperors whose career was marked by a seemingly endless series of wars both domestic and foreign. He served as Caesar from 324 until his father’s death in 337 at which time he shared the title of Augustus with two other brothers, Constantine II and Constans. To make sure no more Johnny-come-latelies in his family would try their hand at being emperor too it is thought that he engineered a bloodbath that left nary a relative. Constantine II died in battle and Constans was murdered by the men of Magnentius, the first of several usurpers. This left Constantius finally as sole legitimate emperor and he moved quickly to suppress Magnentius, an endeavor he eventually accomplished. The strife didn’t end there, however, as he still had to deal with other revolts and wars on every corner of the empire. Caught in these never-ending battles he died while on his way to battle Julian II. Flavius Iulius Constantius was born at Sirmium (now Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia) in province of Pannonia , the third son of Constantine the Great , and second by his second wife Fausta , the daughter of Maximian. Constantius was made Caesar by his father on 13 November 324. The Massacre of 337. The role of Constantius in the massacre of his relatives (those descended from the second marriage of his paternal grandfather Constantius Chlorus and Theodora) is unclear. Zosimus , writing 498-518 claims that Constantius caused the soldiers to murder his relatives, as opposed to actually ordering the action. Eutropius , writing between 350 and 370, writes that Constantius merely sanctioned the act, rather than commanding it. However, it must be noted that both of these sources are hostile to Constantius – Zosimus being a pagan, Eutropius a friend of Julian , Constantius cousin and, ultimately, his enemy. Whatever the case, Constantius himself, his older brother Constantine II , his younger brother Constans and three cousins, Gallus , his half-brother Julian and Nepotianus , son of Eutropia , were left as the only surviving males related to Constantine. Division of the Empire. Meeting at Sirmium not long after the massacre, the three brothers proceeded to divide the Roman Empire among them, according to their father’s will. Constantine II received Britannia , Gaul and Hispania ; Constans (initially under the supervision of Constantine II) Italia , Africa , Illyricum, Thrace , Macedon and Achaea ; and Constantius the East. Sole Ruler of the Roman Empire. Constantius spent much of the rest of 353 and early 354 on campaign against the Alemanni on the Danubian borders. The exact details of this campaign are uncertain, though it seems to have ended with victory for Constantius. The usurpation of Julian and Problems in the East. In the meantime, Julian had won some victories against the Alemanni tribe, who had once again invaded Roman Gaul. As such, Constantius requested reinforcements from Julian for his own campaign against Shapur II. However, when he requested reinforcements from Julian s Gaulish army, the Gaulish legions revolted and proclaimed Julian Augustus. However, on account of the immediate Sassanid threat, Constantius was unable to directly respond to his cousins usurpation other than by sending missives by which he tried to convince Julian to resign the title of Augustus and be satisfied with that of Caesar. By 361, Constantius saw no alternative but to face the usurper with violent force; and yet the threat of the Sassanids remained. Constantius had already spent part of early 361 unsuccessfully attempting to take the fortress of Bezabde. After a time, he had withdrawn to Antioch to regroup, and prepare for a confrontation with Shapur II. However, as it turned out, the campaigns of the previous year had inflicted such heavy losses on the Sassanids that they did not attempt another round of engagements in 361. This allowed Constantius to turn his full attention to facing the usurpation of Julian. As such, Constantius immediately gathered his forces and set off west. However, by the time he reached Mopsuestia in Cicilia, it was clear that he was fatally ill and would not survive to face Julian. Apparently, realising his death was near, Constantius had himself baptised by Euzoius , the Semi-Arian bishop of Antioch , and then declared that Julian was his rightful successor. Constantius II died of fever on 3 November 361. Constantius II was married three times. First to a daughter of his half-uncle Julius Constantius , whose name is unknown. She was a full-sister of Gallus and a half-sister of Julian. Second, to Eusebia, a woman of Macedonian origin from the city of Thessaloniki , whom he married before Constantius’ defeat of Magnentius in 353. She died in 360. Third and lastly, in 360, to Faustina (empress) , who gave birth to Constantius’ only child, a posthumous daughter named Flavia Maxima Constantia , who later married Emperor Gratian. Constantius seems to have had a particular interest in the religious state of the Roman Empire. As a Christian Roman Emperor , Constantius made a concerted effort to promote Christianity at the expense of Roman polytheism (paganism). As such, over the course of his reign, he issued a number of different edicts designed specifically to carry out this agenda (see below). Constantius also took an active part in attempting to shape the Christian church. In spite of the some of the edicts issued by Constantius, it should be recognised that he was not fanatically anti-pagan – he never made any attempt to disband the various Roman priestly colleges or the Vestal Virgins , he never acted against the various pagan schools, and, at times, he actually even made some effort to protect paganism. Also, most notably, he remained pontifex maximus until his death, and was actually deified by the Roman Senate after his death. The relative moderation of Constantius’ actions toward paganism is reflected by the fact that it was not until over 20 years after Constantius’ death, during the reign of Gratian , that any pagan senators protested their religion’s treatment. Although often considered an Arian , Constantius ultimately preferred a third, compromise version that lay somewhere in between Arianism and the Nicaean Creed , retrospectively called Semi-Arianism. As such, during his reign, Constantius made a concerted attempt to mold the Christian church to follow this compromise position, and to this end, he convened several Christian councils during his reign, the most notable of which were one at Rimini and its twin at Seleuca , which met in 359 and 360 respectively. “Unfortunately for his memory the theologians whose advice he took were ultimately discredited and the malcontents whom he pressed to conform emerged victorious, ” writes the historian A. The great councils of 359-60 are therefore not reckoned ecumenical in the tradition of the church, and Constantius II is not remembered as a restorer of unity, but as a heretic who arbitrarily imposed his will on the church. Frequently Asked d Questions. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? 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