Classical Numismatic Group > Triton XXVIIAuction date: 9 January 2024
Lot number: 903

Price realized: 1,300 USD   (Approx. 1,191 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:

Martinian. Usurper, AD 324. Æ Follis (19.5mm, 2.96 g, 12h). Nicomedia mint, 2nd officina. D N M MARTINIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / IOVI CONS ERVATORI, Jupiter, nude but for chlamys draped over shoulders, standing left, holding Victory on globe in extended right hand and eagle-tipped scepter in left; at feet to left, eagle standing left, head right, holding wreath in beak; to right, bound captive kneeling left; –|X/IIΓ//SMNB. RIC VII 45. Dark green patina, light roughness, smoothing. Near VF. Rare.

Proof that history does often repeat itself can be found in the sad tale of Martinian, a puppet ruler installed by the Eastern Roman Emperor Licinius in the midst of his second civil war against Constantine I "the Great." Martinian was of obscure origins, but by the mid AD 320s had risen to become the chief minister of Licinius, just as it became apparent that a final clash with Constantine was imminent. Though Licinius had a larger army, Constantine was the better general and inflicted a heavy defeat on his rival in Thrace on July 3, AD 324. Crossing to Chalcedon, Licinius declared Constantine deposed and raised Martinian to the office of Augustus, with instructions to prevent Constantine from crossing into Asia Minor. Constantine easily evaded Martinian's blocking force, landed in Asia and cornered Licinius at Nicomedia. Having no choice, Licinius surrendered on terms brokered by his wife (and Constantine's sister) Constantia. Martinian went into exile in Cappadocia, but was executed a few months later when Licinius was detected plotting a return to power. Seven years before, under virtually identical circumstances, Licinius had appointed Valerius Valens to a similar role, with almost identical results.

Like those of Valerius Valens, coins of Martinian are quite rare. The reverse evokes "Jupiter the Protector," Licinius' patron deity, who notably failed to protect him and Martinian from the wrath of Constantine.

Estimate: 1000 USD