Constantine the Great
 

"Barbarous" Coinage of the Fourth Century
Barbarous copy of a Constantinian VLPP

    The term ‘barbarous coinage’ refers to imitative coins which are often crude in style. There are several theories about the origins of these coins but the easiest and possibly best explanation is that they were minted because of a shortage of official coinage.  This easy explanation surely does not answer every question though, like why fourth century imitations rarely turn up (in comparison to rest of the Empire) in what is now Spain, even though the  diocese of Hispaniae did not have a mint. So there are no easy answers or maybe there are some aspects of this that historians are missing. Firmicus Maternus, who lived in the fourth century, even said that an alignment of the stars and planets influenced forgery. Maternus was probably wrong, though!
 

Mars allots 20 months to Mercury. When Mercury accepts these months he rouses certain dangers from things written, or he inflicts loss from forgeries. But often he will have enemies destroyed in various ways. If Mercury and Venus are in conjunction, in square aspect, or in opposition, they indicate the crimes of forgery and counterfeiting, especially if Mercury is found in the house or terms of Saturn.          Ancient Astrology: Theory and Practice 35:6.
     This page is about unofficial coinage in the fourth century, specifically the time between A.D. 318- 363. The production of these coins during this period occurred mainly in the outskirts of the Empire-- Britain, Gaul and the Danube, and this page will later look at the Danube region, specifically the Middle Danube. This page will also focus on struck coins versus cast copies-- even though many coins of this type were cast. Coins have been copied practically since the first one was minted. There are two terms in use to describe how widespread counterfeiting was-- endemic and epidemic.1 Endemic is typified by smaller outbreaks and although somewhat sporadic, was almost always present to some extent. Epidemic counterfeiting was on a large scale and generally over a large area. The time period 318- 363 had five periods of epidemic counterfeiting.2 The first was after the monetary reform of Constantine in 318 and lasted until 330. This reform included adding more silver to the VLPP coinage (the imitative/counterfeit VLPP's are the real focus of this page). Other coins that were commonly copied during this first period were VIRTVS EXERCIT, BEATA TRANQVILLITAS, VOTA, SARMATIA and PROVIDENTIAE coins. The second period started during the last years of Constantine's reign and ended between 342 and 348. Some common counterfeits were GLORIA EXERCITVS, VRBS ROMA and CONSTANTINOPOLIS types. The third period came after the reform of 348 which introduced the maiorina and the commonly copied coins were the various FEL TEMP REPARATIO types. The fourth period followed the usurpation of Magnentius in A.D. 350, GLORIA ROMANORVM and VICTORIAE coins were some of the common types counterfeited. The last period of epidemic counterfeiting occurred after the fall of Magnentius. The maiorinae was replaced by the half maiorinae and the FEL TEMP fallen horseman types were the most common type counterfeited. Counterfeiting of bronze coins still happened after this time but declined greatly due to the introduction of the siliqua.
 
 

Epidemic outbreaks of counterfeiting A.D. 318- 363

dates
reasons for counterfeiting
A.D. 318 -330
monetary reform of Constantine--new VLPP have circa 4% silver
circa 335 - between 342 to 348
in 335 A.D., the number of nummi to a pound was raised to 192
A.D. 348
introduction of the maiorina
A.D. 350
usurpation of Magnentius
A.D. 354
after the fall of Magnentius, the maiorinae was replaced by the half maiorinae


Counterfeits





  I have used various terms to describe these coins, but I believe that there are distinctions. "Unofficial" is a good blanket term for any coin that was not struck officially-- then there are counterfeits and imitations. Counterfeits were made to fool people and circulate as official coinage. Some of these coins do indeed look official and would pass casual inspection. In fact, it seems most likely that some of these counterfeiters worked in the mint, as evidenced by this announcement from Constantine in A.D. 321--

"Since some imperial minters are secretly and criminally engaged in the coinage of counterfeit (adulterinus) money, all shall know that the necessity is incumbent on them of seeking out such men, that they be tracked down and delivered to the courts, so that they may forwith betray the accomplices of their deeds through torture and thereupon be sentenced to suitable punishments."  Theodosian Code 21:2
 So some of these coins were minted in an attempt to deceive. The large amount of these copies is “indicative of the heavy overtariffing of the official coinage.”3 This meant that people could make copies of the official coinage for less than the official money was worth. The official VLPP had as much as 3-5% silver, while the previous coinage that was de-monetized had around 1-3% silver.  If someone made imitations by melting down the old coins, a nice profit could be made.4 You could actually make money hand over fist!5  People at the time were very aware that bronze coins had silver in them. There is even a law from A.D. 349 aimed at mint employees removing silver from bronze coins.
We have learnt that many metalworkers (flaturarii) are purging the maiorina coin (maiorina pecunia) no less criminally than frequently by separating off the silver the bronze. Therefore, if anyone is caught in this operation from now on let him know that he is to suffer capital punishment, and indeed those who own the house or land that they are to be punished by the confiscation of property to the largitiones: Our Clemency is naturally to be informed of the names. Theodosian Code 21:6


     Some of these coins probably came from “well organized work-shops.”6  It appears that mint workers may have been able to "borrow" official reverse dies and use them in their workshops. The obverse dies( with the imperial portrait) were kept locked up when not in use. 7So some of these coins look very good in style and that is why I would call them counterfeits versus imitations-- as there seems to be intent to deceive. On the other hand, imitations would not have really fooled anyone because the style was often crude.These crude imitations would not have had to come from well-organized workshops, but could have been minted nearly anywhere...including a farm-- "if money should be secretly stamped and coined on a farm or at a house..." (Theodosian Code 21:4) Generally, imitations of coins from the first period, like the VLPP, were very close in size and usually about 4/5 of the weight. Sometimes these imitations were even silvered, just like the official issues. As time went on, the imitations became reduced in size and become very small. These small imitations are called minimissimi. It is not known for sure what any of these imitations(normal or reduced size) traded for, but a few hoards comprised of almost all imitations suggest that these coins were not worth as much as official coinage. 8

Map of locations of imitations from A.D. 330- 348 from J. P. Callu and J. P. Garnier

    The map is from the article written by J. P. Callu and J. P. Garnier. “Minimi constantiniens trouvés à Reims, Appendice II: Corpus des imitations.” Numismatica e Antichità Classiche 6 (1977) : 330- 315.  This map shows the locations of imitations from A.D. 330- 348.  The article lists the locations and types of imitations found, and the publication information of the finds, i.e. Numismatic Chronicle.
 


Imitations





    The fourth century was a time of great change in the Roman Empire. Many Germanic people were living in Roman territory. The Roman Empire needed the influx of people for labor, to farm the land and protect the borders from other Germanic people. During the reign of Constantius I, “the whole nation of the Carpi was transferred”(Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus 39: 28) to Roman land. So some of these barbarous tribes actually lived in the Roman Empire, with many more near the borders or limes. The Romans called them foederati. The foederati  were allies of Rome, but not citizens. Circa 332, Constantine was victorious over the Goths and he converted them “from a lawless animal existence to one of reason and law. In this way the Goths learnt at last to serve Rome.”(Eusebius, Life of Constantine book IV, 5) so along the borders, the population was probably actually more ‘barbarian’ than Roman. These Roman borders were very porous, and there was a lot of movement back and forth, especially in the Middle Danube.

     Could Germans (living in Roman territory or near the limes) have minted some of these coins? Could these coins have been a form of notgeld (emergency coinage) or monnaie de nécessiteé? The area of the near the limes most likely to have seen these coins used would have been the Middle Danube ( now modern day SW Slovakia, S Moravia and lower Austria north of the Danube). This area was under "strong Roman influence as a result of its proximity to the Roman Empire."9 So,  yes...of course they could have minted these imitatives,since they were more than capable and had for many years been using Roman money. Tacitus (who wrote Germania in the first century A.D.) said that the Germanic tribes, “value gold and silver for their use in commerce, and are wont to distinguish and prefer certain of our coins. They like old-fashioned coins because they have been long familiar with them-- especially those which have notched edges and are stamped with representations of two-horse chariots.” (Tacitus Germania Book 5)  Tacitus also said that Germans only used coins as currency on the frontiers, while in the interior coins were treated as bullion. (Tacitus Annals 12:30)  The Germans are known to have made copies of denarii, aurei, siliquae and solidi, so it seems quite likely that they would have also minted imitations in bronze . 10There is also a clear picture of Germans using Roman products in the Middle Danube region. There are Roman imports of all kinds and not just luxury items (see fig. 1 below)-- in other areas of Barbaricum luxury goods usually only turn up in graves. Roman tableware is found and there is a widespread distribution of Roman pottery (some of which may have been only for export to the Germans, as it does not appear inside Roman territory) which demonstrates that Roman influence extended to all levels of Germanic society in the Middle Danube area (see fig. 2 below). There have even been buildings excavated that were built in the Roman style (hypocaust heating and one with a bath house) but apparently used by Germans. In the fourth century, Roman traders would have re-introduced coinage into this area. "Roman coins were not confined to transactions with Romans, but were used in exchanges between Germans as well, whereas in regions more distant from the frontier Roman coins were regarded as bullion rather than currency."11 There is also a high proportion of bronze to gold and silver (just like in Pannonia) which suggests everyday usage and the large number of coins that are found represents casual loss versus intentional hoarding.12

Many of these imitations are found along the limes, especially in the Danube and Balkans regions and it is reasonable to assume that wherever large amounts of imitations turn up, it is probably the vicinity that they were also minted.


both of the above figures are from Pitts, Lynn F. “Relations Between Rome and the German ‘Kings’ on the Middle Danube in the First to Fourth Centuries A.D.” JRS  79 (1989) : 45- 58.

    Many of these VLPP imitations (especially the Siscian ones) have crude legends. These imitative coins almost never got the Latin legends correct. This is no surprise ( if these coins were minted by Germans or for use by them), since most of the barbarians could not read or write Latin--they did not even have their own written language. Of course, it would have been easier for anyone making imitative coins to engrave only lines rather than actual letters. You also have to wonder what Germanic people, who did not read or write (and may not have even understood the concept), saw when they looked at the legends on a Roman coin. These people probably saw nothing more than curious designs or decorations. As a result, the engraver could use nonsensical symbols instead of Latin and no one cared. Remember also that by the Roman definition that is why they were barbarians. Barbarians were any people that did not read or write Latin (and especially those that wore pants!).13 The Romans used the term barbarian in a negative sense, though. It would probably be better to refer to this type of coinage as imitative rather than the term "barb". The people that produced these coins were not actually barbarians and really only wanted a better life for themselves and their family...and they saw opportunity in Rome.
 

    The stylistic differences on these coins makes more sense in the terms of a different culture. Some of the VLPP’s for example, bear little resemblance to the familiar figure of two victories holding a shield over an altar. To a Germanic engraver, this imagery would not have been quite so familiar, and so it became so highly abstract that one may have difficulty recognizing the original model. Maybe the engraver knew that the people that would use these coins would not know better or even care. Some examples seems to show that the engravers were copying previous barbarous issues instead of official versions of the VLPP-- as if they did not  care what the official coinage looked like. Sometimes the style is very good on these coins, but other times the style is so abstract that it is hard to tell what the engraver wanted to depict.  So even if these coins were not minted by ‘barbarians’, it seems plausible that the coins were meant to be used by the Germanic people and others.
 


Roman Laws on Counterfeiting

    There were multiple laws passed condemning counterfeiting. The fact that so many laws were passed possibly tells a lot about what was going on. One law would indicate a problem...multiple laws meant that there was a much bigger problem. Part of the problem was the inability of the Imperial government to stop counterfeiting and this stemmed from the fact that on a local level, little or nothing was or could be done to stop the problem. For instance, in a province, the local authority might not care at all if the people minted stop-gap currency to alleviate a shortage of official coinage., after all what kept the people happy made for a peaceful province. Even if the local official wanted to stop illegal minting,  he may not  have had the manpower and/or resources to stop it. The further away from the Emperor, and the reach of the Emperor, the less of a problem counterfeiting imitatives probably seemed to people. It seems likely, that for the most part, imitatives were tolerated.
 

Theodosian Code 9:21:2
Since some imperial minters are secretly and criminally engaged in the coinage of counterfeit money, all shall know that the necessity is incumbent on them of seeking out such men, that they may be tracked down and delivered to the courts, so that they may forthwith betray the accomplices of their deeds through torture and thereupon be sentenced to suitable punishments. (20 November 321)

9:21:3
If any person should mold a coin by false casting, We command that all his property shall be confiscated to the fisc and that he shall be punished with statutory severity, in order that such zeal for coining money may prevail only in Our mints. (6 July 326)

9:21:4
It was formerly established as law that, if money should be secretly stamped and coined on a farm or at a house without the knowledge of the owner, the fisc should vindicate to its own ownership the seat of the crime. Now it is our pleasure that a distinction shall be made, namely that if the owner dwells…at a very long distance from the said house or landholding, he shall sustain no loss. (4 May 326)

9:21:5
A reward is offered to the accusers of any persons who can be found to be counterfeiters of solidi or who are brought before the public authorities by anyone for this crime. Such criminals shall be delivered to the consuming flames immediately and without delay. (18 Feb 343)

9:21:6
We have learned that some metal casters purge the majorina criminally and frequently, by separating the silver from the bronze. If any person hereafter should be apprehended in this trickery, he shall know that he has committed a capital crime. Also those persons who furnish the use of houses and lands to counterfeiters must be punished by the delivery of their property to the imperial largesses. Of course, Our Clemency must be informed of the names of such persons. (12 Feb 349)

9:21:9
Those persons guilty of making false money, who are commonly called counterfeiters, are held liable to the criminal charge of high treason. (27 June 389)


Ostrogothic King Theodahad

    The VLPP helmet/crown of Constantine was also used later by Germanic kings. The above picture of the Ostrogothic king Theodahad (534-536 A.D.) illustrates a very similar helmet as the VLPP type. There is no plume or cheek flaps, but the type is still recognizable, especially the stars to the right and left of the cross-bar. The VLPP type helmet became the most common type helmet in Europe in the sixth and seventh century-- called a spangenhelm. These helmets utilize jointed construction and are made of metal strips that comprise a frame that connect three to six bronze or steel plates-- that is why the VLPP helmets show so many rivets in the design. As late as the seventh century, a helmet was used in place of a crown in the coronation of Egbert, a King of Kent who ruled from 664 to 673.14
 
 


Typical Examples of Official VLPP's

Constantine the Great VLPP  D6-Laureate, helmeted, cuirassed
Constantine the Great VLPP   H11 - High-crested helmet, cuirassed, spear across right shoulder
Constantine the Great  VLPP  H12 - High-crested helmet, cuirassed, spear across right shoulder, shield on left arm
 


Degrees of "barbarization"
The chart is from the article by  Arthur E. Robinson in “False and Imitation Roman Coins.” The Journal of Antiquarian Association of the British Isles 2, no. 4 (1932) : 171- 184. Howard Mattingly gave Robinson advice for his chart.

A
Original Coin
B
Slightly Divergent
C
Semi-barbarous
D
Barbarous
E
Decadent
F
Decadent & Reduced
Prototype
Original types and
legends essentially 
the same
Types and legends
still clearly reconizable
Wide divergence
in types and 
legends
Legends vanishing. Types
breaking down.
Exaggerated, 
and very small flans



 
 

map of Barbarians circa A.D. 320
 

Imitative  VLPP  Examples

    The coins below are all examples of barbarous VLPP's mainly in the style of the Siscia mint. Siscia was in the diocese of Pannonia. Imitations of Siscian coinage are the most commonly found examples; but barbarous imitations from all the mints exist. These coins often come from the Danube region. All of the coins below are struck, just like the official coins. The sizes are close to the official coinage, but on average tend to be about a millimeter smaller. The average weight of the imitatives is about .2 grams smaller than the official coinage. The coins below were all tested for metal content and the percentage of silver (usually around 2%) indicates that many were most likely made from the previously de-monetized issues, but sometimes other sources were used, for example coin 8 only has copper and lead. The chart below shows the percentage of copper, silver, tin and lead found in each coin.  I have arranged the coins from least to most barbarous. The least barbarous could pass for an official issue and may have been intended to deceive, but the last coins would not have fooled anyone. Here is a link to a page on metallurgy of official Constantinian coins for comparison with these imitations.
 
 
 

Size/weight
Copper
Silver
Tin
Lead
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
19x18mm     3.1gm 

 The style is very good and the legends are almost correct. This coin is what I would classify as a counterfeit

80.62
2.60
4.46
12.31
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
17mm    2.6gm

could have possibly passed as real

89.60
2.42 
2.93
5.04
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
18x17mm    2.5gm 

very similar to a coin found near Carnuntum
could have possibly passed as real

95.27
1.70
0.82
2.21
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
16mm   2.3 gm 

very similar to a coin found near Carnuntum

note the similarity of the obverse to  coin 3. They may been engraved by the same person
could have possibly passed as real

91.83
2.86
1.48
3.83
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
18mm      3.1gm
79.39
2.87
6.32
11.43
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
17mm    2.2gm 
90.34 
2.79
2.90 
3.97 
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
18mm 3.7gm 
86.83 
2.60 
3.82 
6.75 
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
19x18mm    2.6gm 
91.60 
---
---
8.40
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
17mm 2gm 
89.92
2.69
2.91 
4.48
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
17mm    2.4gm 
89.03
3.60 
3.18 
4.19 
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
18mm 2.9gm 
86.84
3.60
4.94
4.62
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
20x19mm     2.7gm 
90.99
2.48 
4.11 
2.41
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
15mm     2.4gm 
86.72
3.02
5.84 
4.41 
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
16mm      3gm 
86.60 
0.39
4.23
8.78
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
18mm     2.5gm 

 looks like an 8 on the shield. 
note the similarity to coin 16. 

89.97
1.96 
5.43
2.65 
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
18mm     2.6gm 

looks like an 8 on the shield. 
note the similarity to coin 15

89.50
1.18
4.80 
4.52
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
18mm 2.6gm 
94.24
2.02
1.50
2.24
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
19x18mm     3.0gm 
89.83 
1.74
1.62 
6.81
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
16mm     2.8gm 
93.54
2.22
3.02
1.22 
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
17mm        2.4gm 
88.61 
2.12
3.02
6.24
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
17mm 2.2gm 

obverse and reverse die match with  coin 22

92.89 
1.51
3.20 
2.39
Barbarous imitation of Constantine’s VICTORIAE LAETAE PRINC PERP
16mm 2.6gm 

obverse and reverse die match with  coin 21

88.88
2.19
3.73
5.20

 

Obverse and reverse die match

obverse and reverse die match of barbarous VLPP
 



Other pages with imitative VLPP coinage
Warren Esty
Beast's
Ed Flinn
Reid Goldsborough
Gert Boersema


Suggested reading (arranged chronologically)

Andreas Alföldi, “Materialen zur Klassifizierung der gleichzeitigen Nachahmungen von römischen Münzen aus Ungarn und den Nachbärlandern.” Numizmatikai közlöny 25 (1926) : 37- 48, plates 1-6.
The author looked at 232 examples of imitations, many of which were Siscia VLPP imitations.

Arthur E. Robinson, “False and Imitation Roman Coins,” The Journal of Antiquarian Association of the British Isles 2, no. 3 (December 1931) : 97- 112; vol. 2, no. 4 (March 1932) : 171- 184; vol. 3, no. 1 (June 1932) : 3- 28.
The author looked at the holdings of museums in Great Britain and wrote about the imitations he found.

P. V. Hill, “Barbarous Imitations of Fourth-Century Roman Coins,” The Numismatic Chronicle 10 (1950) : 233- 270.
This work is compromised by the author's belief that some barbarous coins were struck as late as the fifth century.

Philip Grierson, “The Roman Law of Counterfeiting.” Essays in Roman Coinage Presented to Harold Mattingly. Oxford University Press (1956) : 240- 261.

J. P. C. Kent, “Barbarous Copies of Roman Coins: Their Significance for the British Historian and Archaeologist.” Limes-Studien 14 (1957) : 61- 68.
Kent argued that imitations were struck contemporary with the prototypes. By now, Hill agreed that barbs were not struck in the 5th century.

A. Ravetz, “Neutron Activation Analysis of Silver in Some Late Roman Copper Coins.” Archaeometry 6 (1963): 46- 55.
The author analyzed a few imitations of the Fel Temp galley type.

L. H. Cope and H. N. Billingham, “The Composition of 35 Roman Bronze Coins of the Period A.D. 284- 363.”  Historical Metallurgy 1 (1967) : 1- 6.
Three Fel Temp galley imitatives were analyzed

Katalin Biró-Sey, “Contemporary Roman Counterfeit Coins in the Niklovits Collection.” Folia Archaeologica 28 (1977) : 91- 101.
This article talks about 24 imitations from a large Hungarian collection, as well as imitations from the Transdanubia region in general.

J. P. Callu and J. P. Garnier, “Minimi constantiniens trouvés à Reims, Appendice II: Corpus des imitations.” Numismatica e Antichità Classiche 6 (1977) : 330- 315.
This is a corpus of documented finds of imitations issued after A.D. 330, including a map.

C. E. King, “The Alloy Content of Folles and Imitations from the Woodeaton Hoard.” PACT 1 (1977) : 86- 100.

Duval, Noël and Vladislav Popovic, eds. "Sirmium VIII. Études de Numismatique Danubienne: Trésors, Lingots, Imitations. Monnaies de Fouilles IV au XII Siècle." Rome: Ecole francaise de Rome, 1978.
A lot of information on imitatives, however there is one completely wrong statement-- "It should also be noted that all these specimens are cast, as everywhere else in the Roman empire." (pg 143). This is incorrect as many copies were struck, in fact, the coins illustrated appear to have been struck.

J. N. Barrandon and C. Brenot. “Analyse de monnaies de bronze (318- 340) par activation neutronique à l’aide d’une source isotopique de Californium 252.” Collection de l'Ecole française de Rome 37 (1978) : 123- 144.
Analyzed 12 imitations of imitative VLPP's, silver content ranged from .10- 2.5 %, with an average of 1.53%. No indication of which mints they imitated though.

George C. Boon, “Counterfeit Coins in Roman Britain,” Coins and the Archaeologist, London: Seaby (1980) : 102- 188.
A great overview of counterfeiting and imitative coinage in Britain.

Pierre Bastien,  "Imitations of Late Roman Bronze Coins, 318-363" American Numismatic Society Museum Notes  30 (1985): 144.
This is the standard work on 4th century imitations.

Kevin Butcher, “The Maidenhatch Farm Hoard of Constantinian Copies” The Numismatic Chronicle 152 (1992): 160-174.
This hoard contained 193 coins from A.D. 330- 341.,and all but two were imitations,

C. L. Duncan, Coin Circulation in the Danubian and Balkan Provinces of the Roman Empire A.D. 294-578. London: Royal Numismatic Society, 1993.
Interesting read, but concentrates on Pannonia and Dacia (no Middle Danube) and very little on imitatives besides a few references to minimissimi

C. E. King, "Roman Copies" Coin Finds and Coin Use in the Roman World. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag (1996) : 237-263.
After Bastien, this is the most informative and useful work on imitatives.

Matthias Pfisterer and Heinz Winter, “Eine Sammlung barbarisierter spätrömischer Münzen aus Carnuntum,” Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Numismatische Gesellschaft volume 41, no.2 (2001) :27-41 and volume 41, no. 3 (2001) : 47- 61.
The authors wrote about  52 imitations found near Carnuntum, which included 37 VLPP imitations.

Bursche, Aleksander. “Circulation of Roman Coinage in Northern Europe in Late Antiquity.” Histoire & mesure XVII (2002).
"Barbarian counterfeits of denarii, aurei, siliquae and solidi were minted — in a very limited number at that — mostly on territory close to the limes." So they could have minted copies of LRB's--particularly VLPP's, also. The author talks about the function of Roman coins in German society, but ignores that Tacitus said Germans used coins as currency on the frontiers, versus bullion in the interior, stating that what Tacitus said was a classical topos (rhetorical invention) in reference to Germania with no mention of Annals.

Bursche, Aleksander. "Contacts between the Late Roman Empire and North-Central Europe."  The Antiquaries Journal 76 (1996): 31-50.

Moisil, Delia. “The Danube Limes and the Barbaricum (294-498 A.D.) A Study In Coin Circulation.” Histoire & mesure XVII (2002).
While not talking specifically about the Middle Danube, the author had this to say about imitations, "It is still difficult to establish if they should be assigned to barbarous people in the Danube area, to semi-official Roman mints or to individuals interested in getting some profit from this work."
 


1Boon, George C. “Counterfeit Coins in Roman Britain.”  Coins and the Archaeologist. London: Seaby (1980) : 102- 188.

2Pierre Bastien,  "Imitations of Late Roman Bronze Coins, 318-363" American Numismatic Society Museum Notes  30 (1985): 144.

3 George C. Boon, “Counterfeit Coins in Roman Britain,”  Coins and the Archaeologist, London: Seaby (1980) : 137.

4J. Barrandon & J. P. Callu & C. Brenot in their article, "The Analysis of Constantinian Coins (A.D. 313-40) By Non-Destructive Californium 252 Activation Analysis," Archaeometry 19 (1977): 173-186, found that examples of the VLPP imitative from Trier averaged less than 2% silver.

5I heard that the phrase "make money hand over fist" referred to the minting practice of holding the die in your fist and striking with a hammer in your other hand. I cannot verify the validity of this, though!

6Pierre Bastien, "Imitations of Late Roman Bronze Coins, 318-363" American Numismatic Society Museum Notes  30 (1985): 144.

7 Ibid.,160.

8 A few  examples-- Kevin Butcher, “The Maidenhatch Farm Hoard of Constantinian Copies” The Numismatic Chronicle 152 (1992): 160-174. Andreas Alföldi, “Materialen zur Klassifizierung der gleichzeitigen Nachahmungen von römischen Münzen aus Ungarn und den Nachbärlandern.” Numizmatikai közlöny 25 (1926) : 37- 48, plates 1-6. Matthias Pfisterer and Heinz Winter, “Eine Sammlung barbarisierter spätrömischer Münzen aus Carnuntum,” Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Numismatische Gesellschaft volume 41, no.2 (2001) :27-41 and volume 41, no. 3 (2001) : 47- 61.

9Pitts, Lynn F. “Relations Between Rome and the German ‘Kings’ on the Middle Danube in the First to Fourth Centuries A.D.” JRS  79 (1989) : 55.

10 Bursche, Aleksander. “Circulation of Roman Coinage in Northern Europe in Late Antiquity.” Histoire & mesure XVII (2002). "Barbarian counterfeits of denarii, aurei, siliquae and solidi were minted — in a very limited number at that — mostly on territory close to the limes."

11Pitts, Lynn F. “Relations Between Rome and the German ‘Kings’ on the Middle Danube in the First to Fourth Centuries A.D.” JRS  79 (1989) : 57.

12Tabula Imperii Romani M33; J. Wielowiejski, "Die Kontakte Noricums und Pannoniens mit den Nordlichen Volkern im Lichte der romische Importe" in H. J. Dolle (ed.) Romer und Germanen in Mitteleuropa (1975) 69- 86.

13 Within the City of Rome no person shall wear either trousers or boots. But if any man after the issuance of this regulation of Our Clemency should obstinately persist in such contumacy, he shall be punished according as his legal status permits and expelled from our sacred City.”  Codex Theodosianus 14.10.3 June 6, 399.

14 Andreas Alföldi, “The Helmet of Constantine with the Christian Monogram.” The Journal of Roman Studies 22 (1932) : 16.
 
 


last modified on 28 March 2012

Constantine the Great