The Other Coin: Constantine the Great

 In September we will celebrate the 1700th anniversary of Constantine the Great's
coronation at York, England as emperor after his father's death. A special exhibition
is being held there and I will bring the museum catalog from York. Constantine is
famous for ending the persecution against Christians and making Christianity the
official religion of the empire, establishing the Nicene Ceed as the universal statement
of faith of the Christianity, and giving the papcy its first palace in Rome among other
things. Nevertheless, there is still much debate on just how "Christian" Constantine
was and we will look at a fairly complete set of bronze coins to ask just what was
Constantine telling the people of the empire about himself. Coins, after all, were the
newspapers and propaganda instruments of the Roman Empire. Every emperor
minted coins as soon as he was enthroned (sometime even before) to let the people
know who the new emperor was and to pay his loyal troops. Wives, children,
military victory (real or imagined), construction projects, gods, plagues, etc. were all
commemorated on coins. Bring your favorite magnifying glass and tell me what you
see on his coins.

Numismatically yours, David Elliott