- Museum number
Gold coin. (whole)
Liberalitas, draped, standing front, head left, holding abacus in right hand and cornucopiae in left. (reverse)
Jugate busts Sol, radiate, and Constantine, laureate, draped, cuirassed, raising right hand and holding globe in left, facing left. (obverse)
- Production date
Weight: 4.470 grammes
- Curator's comments
- Constantine is shown and described as the ‘companion’ of the sun god on a coin minted nearly four years after his reported conversion to Christianity on the eve of the battle of the Milvian Bridge. The emperor copies Sol’s characteristic gesture of benediction seen on the most common coins (copper alloy nummi) of Constantine until AD 317 (and occasionally on the gold into the 320s). It is possible that the Milvian Bridge conversion was a suitably dramatic fiction given out long afterwards, but a Christian of the time would have regarded the figure as nothing more than a representation of the weekly holy day of Sunday (dies Solis). Sunday was made an official day of rest for all by Constantine in AD 321.
In any case, the Christianity of Constantine was more eclectic than those familiar with the modern religion might suppose; early ideas of Christ, or at least the visual language employed to depict him was often given solar overtones.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2006 31 Mar-29 Oct, York, Yorkshire Museum, Constantine
- Acquisition date
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number