Obverse: CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C; Laureate, Draped, Cuirassed Bust of Constantine II Facing Right
Reverse: GLORIA EXERCITVS; Two Soldiers Holding Spears Standing on Either Side of Two Standards
Constantine II was born in 316 A.D., the eldest son of Constantine the Great and his second wife, Fausta. When the empire was divided upon the death of his father in A. D. 337 between him and his brothers Constantius II, Constans I, he inherited Gaul and most of Western Europe. Together with his brothers, Constantine II systematically murdered any of his relatives that he considered a threat to his throne. They left their young cousin Julian alive, however, and Julian ultimately did lead a successful revolt and become emperor. Part of the arrangements made between the three brothers included Constantine II acting as regent for Constans, who was considered somewhat young to rule in his own right. In 340, Constantine II and Constans got into an argument over the administration of Italy. Constantine II gathered an army to go chastise his brother, but was soundly defeated in the battle that took place near the city of Aquileia, in the North of Italy close to the western slopes of the Julian Alps. Constantine II was killed in the battle after bitter fighting.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This ancient coin is a memorial to the Emperor Constantine II, passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.