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Antoninianus of Empress Salonina (254-268 AD)

Antoninianus of Empress Salonina (254-268 AD)

  • Site: Dobanovci, Soko salaš
  • Period: Antiquity
  • Date: 265 AD
  • Material: Bronze, silvering
  • Technique: minting
  • Dimensions: R: 2.1 cm, weight: 2.30 gr
  • Inventory number: N 9516

This silver coin of Empress Salonina, wife of Emperor Galienus (253-268), belonged to a dispersed 3rd century hoard of Roman coins. The reverse shows the empress holding a cross, symbol of the Christian faith, in her right hand. This is the earliest occurrence of a Christian symbol on Roman coins. The coin was struck in 265 A.D., after Galienus's edict on religious peace of 261 A.D., and some fifty years before the Edict of Milan, which gave recognition to the Christian religion (313 A.D.). The only evidence that Salonina was a Christian are the coins issued in her name. The obverse of this coin, which is the only known example of this kind, shows the bust of the empress, facing right. Round it runs the inscription: SALONINS SVG. On the reverse is the representation of Vesta, in fact the Empress (indicated by the type of her diadem, which was worn by ruling women only), seated on the throne and facing left. She holds a cross with the arms indicated by dots in her extended right hand. In her left hand is a sceptre with another cross on the top. The picture of the Empress is accompanied by the inscription: VESTA. The usual typological scheme with the inscription VESTA was used here effectively to suggest in a covert way Empress Salonina's commitment to Christianity.

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