Roman Empire - Constantius II, c. 334-335 AD
Condition notes: Well-worn, but a nice level of detail overall.
Constantius II (r. 337-361) was a son of the great Emperor Constantine. After his father's death in 337, Constantine quickly consolidated power by having an entire branch of his family tree cut murdered. He shared control of the empire with two of his brothers for a time (Constantius controlled the eastern third), until one of his brothers was killed by the other, who was in turn killed by a usurper. Constantius tolerated the fratricide but could not tolerate usurpation, and ended his campaigns against the Sassanid Empire to march his armies west. In one of the bloodiest battles in Roman history (50,000 dead in a single day), Constantius defeated the usurper and gained sole control over the Roman Empire.
As the sole ruler of a massive Mediterranean empire, Constantius quickly recognized his own limitations and appointed one of his cousins co-ruler in order to share the burden. Unfortunately, his cousin proved ambitious and disloyal, and was executed. Constantius was running out of options, but decided to elevate his last remaining male relative, Julian, to the rank of junior co-emperor (Caesar). Julian proved an able ruler and military leader and became popular with his soldiers. When Constantius requested for reinforcements from Julian, Julian's troops refused and proclaimed him Augustus (senior emperor). Once again, Constantius marched his troops west to counter the usurpation. But before he could reach Julian, Constantius succumbed to illness. On his deathbed he magnanimously declared Julian his heir, which helped prevent even more unnecessary bloodshed.
Specs: 18mm, 2.02g, bronze. This coin was produced while Constantius was still a junior emperor under his father, Constantine.
Inscription: "CONSTAN-TIUS PF (Pius Felix) AVG (Augustus)" = trans. "Constantius, Dutiful & Happy Augustus"
Reverse: Legionary standards between two Roman soldiers holding spears. "GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS" = "Glory of the army"
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