Roman Bronze Constantine II Follis Beaded Swivel Pendant
A finely minted Roman bronze follis coin from the reign of Constantine II, mounted in a beaded silver frame. The Emperor’s bust is depicted on one side, the obverse, wearing a laurel wreath around his head. He faces to the right and surrounding his head is the legend CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C. This refers to the Emperor, in this case Constantine. The inscription IVN stands for Ivveni or Ivventis, meaning younger or junior; letting us ascertain that this coin was minted for Constantine II. Nob C refers to the title ‘Nobilissimus Caesar’, ‘noble Caesar’. To the reverse is another legend surrounding a laurel garland, with a further inscription to the centre. The outer inscription reads as CAESARVM NOSTRORVM, which translates as ‘the heir apparent, of our people’ and the letters within the garland are VOT V. This stands for ‘votis’ v, referring to vows undertaken in the fifth year of the Emperor’s reign and is a commemoration of their accession, the quinquennalia.
The coin is surrounded by a silver frame which leads up to a three beaded suspension loop. The suspension chain is comprised of two blue beads of varying shades, made from glass. The last bead is a faceted garnet, of a deep burgundy hue. The pendant is framed so that both sides of the coin can be displayed.
Date: Circa AD 316-337 Condition: Excellent condition. Clear and defined profile and crisp legend to obverse and reverse.
The ancient Romans developed a coin making technique which is still used today, known as minting. The blacksmiths would either use cold or hot sheets of metal to create the coin and then heavy bronze or iron stamps to impress the details of the coin onto the metal body. It was thought to be a two or three person job. The images typically shown on the coin would be the profile of the emperor or someone from his family, or a notable leader. The profile image of their head would also be surrounded with letters usually detailing the name of the person on the coin and the date that the coin was made. On the obverse side the scene shown was typically showing a significant battle or religious scene.
This particular coin depicts the profile of Constantine II, deciphered from the legend on the obverse and reverse. He was the second son of the infamous Emperor, Constantine the Great. He was given the title of Caesar by his father in AD 317, 20 years prior to his death. When Constantine I died, his great Empire was divided between his sons; Constantine II, Constantius and Constans. Constantine II originally ruled the provinces of Britain, Gaul and Spain. He died fighting his brother Constans for full control of the Empire.