Justin's Relics

My Roman Coin Collection

I have a passion for Roman coins. It's no secret and everyone that knows me knows about it. I love the process of cleaning and identifying coins that have been in the ground for over 1500 years. It always makes me wonder who the last person who used these coins was and what he/she was like. I regularly buy lots of uncleaned Roman coins to see if I can make any improvements on them and possibly identify some of them. On this page, I will post the best coins of each emperor that I have positively identified.

Commodus (177-192)

Emperor Commodus is regarded by many as one of the worst Roman emperors ever. He reigned from 177-192. Commodus liked to use the funds of the empire for his own pleasure and often fought in the arena as a gladiator. This caused the senate to despise him and together with his lack of political and strategical abilities it led to his assasination in 192.

Macrinus (217-218)

Macrinus had served under Caracalla for 5 years when he decided to order the emperor's assassination for his own safety. He was then given the title of emperor by the army. Macrinus was the first emperor that had not served in the senate. He was assassinated after Iulia Maesa - grandmother of emperor Elagabalus - started spreading false rumours.


Severus Alexander (222-235)

Severus Alexander was the son of Julia Mamaea. After being emperor for 4 years, his mother finally stepped back so that Severus Alexander could take charge over the empire. He was a friendly and intelligent person who truly wanted the best for his empire. Unfortunately, he faced a lot of trouble and an unmotivated and riotting army, caused by his predecessors.

Julia Mamaea (222-235)

Julia Mamaea was the mother of emperor Severus Alexander and served as regent of Rome during her son's minority. When Severus Alexander reached adulthood - 4 years after officially receiving the title of emperor - Julia stepped back into an advising role for her son.

Gallienus (253-268)

During the reign of Gallienus, many usurpers tried to overthrow the emperor. Gallienus successfully protected his empire from the Germans along the river Rhine. He tried to stop the rebellion of Postumus, who wanted to create a Gallo-Germanic empire, but only managed to slow things down.

Claudius II "Gothicus" (268-270)

Before Claudius Gothicus received the title of emperor he served in the army as general under Gallienus. In 268, Gallienus was assassinated and Claudius took over the position. As emperor he was unsuccessful in recapturing the Gallo-Germanic Empire of Postumus. However, his campaign against the Goths was very successful, which earned him his title.

Tetricus II (273-274)

Tetricus II was Caesar of the Gallo-Germanic Empire under his father Tetricus I during one year. After the Gallo-Germanic army was defeated by Aurelian, Tetricus II and his father surrendered and were brought to Rome. They lived the rest of their lives in peace somewhere in the Roman Empire. Some sources say that Tetricus II later became part of the senate. 

Carinus (283-285)

Carinus became Caesar under his father Carus in 282. He was entrusted the control over the western provinces. When his father was killed in battle in 283, Carinus became sole emperor. He was challenged in the east by Diocletianus and won the initial battle. However, Carinus was assassinated by one of his generals over a personal matter and Diocletianus became emperor.

Maximianus (286-305)

Maximianus reigned together with Diocletianus. He didn't come from a powerful family nor did he study. Yet, he managed to climb the ranks in the Roman army. He eventually got in contact with Diocletianus who appointed him as Caesar and later as Augustus. Later, he was captured when he tried to overthrow Constantius I and commited suicide in emprisonment.

Severus II (306-307)

Severus II is known as the father of Constantinus I. After the death of Constantius Chlorus, the army claimed the title of Augustus for Constantinus I. However, it was Galerius (who reigned in the East) who gave that title to Severus II instead. Constantinus I thus became caesar. He was captured and murdered by usurper Maxentius in 307.

Constantinus I (307-337)

Constantinus I was the first emperor to convert to Christianity. He did so after defeating Maxentius at the Milvian bridge. Before this battle Constantinus received a sign from the sky which would eventually determine the outcome of the battle. He also turned Constantinople (before: Byzantium), into the capital which is why he is seen as the founder of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Constans (337-350)

Emperor Constans was the son of Constantinus I. He ruled together with his brothers Constantinus II and Constantius II. After defeating Constantinus II in a battle for power, the peace was restored in the western part of the empire. Constans gifted a lot of funds to the Christian churches which caused arguments with his brother Constantius II at times.

Constantius II (337-361)

Constantius II was the son of Constantinus I. Upon his father's death he got control of the eastern part of the empire. He ruled together with his brother Constans after defeating their other brother Constantinus II. In 350, Constantius II became sole ruler of the empire after the assassination of Constans. During his reign he was involved in many battles with the Persians.

Constantius Gallus (351-354)

Constantius Gallus  served under Constantius II as Caesar. He was appointed as Caesar to maintain the eastern provinces, while emperor Constantius II travelled east to deal with usurper Magnentius, who had assassinated Constans. The reign of Gallus was very violent, which eventually led to his execution by Constantius II in 354. 


Iulianus II "Apostata" (361-363)

Iulianus II was the younger brother of Constantius Gallus.  When his brother was executed in 354, Iulianus II received the title of Caesar under Constantius II. When the emperor died, Iulianus II was named as his successor. He was very fond of the ancient Roman traditions and broke with the church. He was the last non-Christian emperor of the Roman empire, which earned him his title of Apostate.

Valentinianus I (364-375)

Valentinianus I ruled together with his brother Valens, who had control over the eastern provinces. Valentinianus I was very successful in stopping rebellions in his empire and was respected by the army and the people. He supported the Pope but was tolerant towards other religions. He died from a stroke in 375 at the river Donau.

Valens (364-378)

Valens ruled together with his brother Valentinianus I, who had control over the western provinces. Valens was very reasonable and lowered taxes for farmers. During his reign he battled the Persians and the Goths, which eventually led to his death in the battle of Adrianopolis, in 378.

Arcadius (383-408)

Arcadius was the first separate emperor of the Eastern Roman empire. His brother Honorius ruled over the Western empire. He was not the fittest and most gifted emperor and most of his decisions were made by his ministers Rufinus and Eutropius. During his reign he had many conflicts with his brother Honorius, which made the separation of the empire in two parts even more serious.