Roman AE3 Licinius I, 308-324 AD


Roman AE3 Licinius I, 308-324 AD
See below for coin details, description and metrics.

A poem about this coin’s beauty:
“Wreathed and cuirassed, Licinius' bust faces right;Ancient coin's delight.”

In Latin:
“LICINIVS AUGUSTUSIMP, wreath├Ęd and armored, Roma's ancient hero.“

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Ruler: Emperor Licinius I Period: 308 to 324
  • Denomination:
  • Grade:
  • Exergue/Mint:
  • Material:
  • Weight (g):
  • Diameter (mm): 18
  • Obverse: Wreathed, cuirassed bust facing right. IMP LICINIVS AUG
  • Reverse: Votive wreath incl. VOT XX MULT XXX TSR
  • Between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD, the Roman Empire was in a state of decline with several reflections on ancient Roman coinage of the time. The economy was struggling, and there was political instability. In 410 AD, the city of Rome was sacked by the Visigoths, and in 455 AD it was sacked again by the Vandals. The emperor Constantine moved the capital of the empire to Constantinople in 330 AD, the empire was divided into two parts in 395 AD, and by 476 AD the western half had fallen to barbarian invasions. The eastern half of the empire (aka the Byzantine empire) continued until 1453 AD when it fell to the Ottoman Turks. These broad events, need to pay armies and maintain a faltering economy brought continuous inflation and debasement of the currency. Numerous reforms attempted to re-set coinage also leveraging advanced alloying and silvering techniques to give the appearance of greater value than the material content of the individual coin and avoid hoarding behaviours. The split between East and West and its control through a Tetrarchy brought coinage emissions under the two Augusti and two Caesars, with numerous individual variations across the many local mints. For example the Antoninianus was issued to replace the Denarius though with scarce silver content, or with various issues of AE1-4 bronze coinage of ever decreasing size and weight. The gradual break-up of the western provinces also brought localised coinage emissions and barbarian issued imitations of Roman coinage. After the fall of Rome, the eastern part of the Empire managed to implement some degrees of successful reform for example under Emperor Anastasius at the end of the 5th century and then Justinian I.
  • The AE coins of ancient Rome are a fascinating glimpse into the past, particularly around the later Roman empire from around the 3rd century AD. These coins were used for everyday transactions and were made of bronze or copper. They depict a variety of scenes from Roman life, including gods and goddesses, animals, and imperial leaders. The term "AE" is usually associated with AE1-4 in accordance to size, AE1 being the largest. It is actually a modern construction and we have little or no insight of what this coinage was actually called. The terms "Follis" or "Nummus" are also commonly used, though more recently it is becoming accepted that the term Nummus may have been the correct one also used at the time. As the empire's economic fortunes decreased the size of coinage also fell making the AE4 class very predominant until the fall of Rome and the coin reforms of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire).

Additional information

Dimensions 1.8 × 1.8 × 0.2 cm