Roman coins: the antoninian and the crisis of the third century

Roman coins: the antoninian and the crisis of the third century

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The Antoninian, created in the year 215, was the most used coin in the 3rd century. These small pieces of fleece (silver-copper alloy) have become the icon of the so-called crisis of the third century, whose consequences affected the entire Empire.

Beginning in 235 and over 50 years, continuous struggles for power, territorial ruptures and a deep economic and social crisis they ended up transforming the Roman way of life.

The Antoninian, increasingly devalued and with less money, faithfully reflects the deterioration of the situation.

The Antoninian is named for his creator, the emperor caracalla, whose official name was Marcus Aurelius Severo Antoninus. It is recognized by appearing on the obverse the portrait of the emperor with a radiated crown, emulating the rays of the sun, or that of the empress on a crescent moon.

Sun and moon are images associated with power since ancient times.

The coins have been dated between the years 240 and 269. Although most are from the reign of Gallienus, they also include that of these emperors or empresses: Gordian III (238-244), Philip I (244-249), Otacilia Severa, Trajan Decius (249-251), Herennia Etruscilla, Treboniano Galo (251-253), Volusiano (251-253), Emiliano (253), Valeriano I (253-260), Mariniana Valeriano II, Salonino Galieno (253 / 260-268 ), Salonina Macriano (260-261), Quieto (260-261), Posthumous (260-269) and Claudio II (268-270).

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Video: Rome and the Third Century Crisis