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Seeking Jupiter’s Aid

CNG 111, Lot: 801. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $9500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Licinius I. AD 308-324. AV Aureus (20mm, 5.21 g, 6h). Siscia mint. Struck AD 316. LICINI VS P F AVG, laureate head right / IOVI CONSER VATORI AVG, Jupiter standing facing, head left, holding thunderbolt in right hand and grounded scepter in left; at feet to left, eagle standing left, head right, holding wreath in beak; X//SIS. RIC VII 20; Depeyrot 12/1; Calicó 5119; Biaggi 1937; Hunterian –; Jameson –; Mazzini –. EF, light hairlines and a few minor marks.

From the Brexit Collection. Ex ArtCoins Roma 8 (4 February 2014), lot 715 (hammer €20,000).

This aureus was struck at Siscia (modern Sisak, Croatia) during the brief border war of AD 316 between the rival emperors Licinius, in the East, and Constantine I, in the West. The reverse invokes the protection of Jupiter, traditional head of the Roman pantheon, for his champion Licinius in his struggle against Constantine, who had forsaken the old gods of Rome to embrace Christianity. The subtle use of the singular ending AVG, instead of the plural AVGG, on the reverse indicates Licinius invokes Jupiter’s aid for himself and not his erstwhile colleague.