Anonymous Civic Coinage

By David Kalina

Listed are coins I put into four groupings that can be attributed as anonymous civic issues due to their lack of inscriptions for any particular emperor. These issues are commonly known as anonymous under Maximinus II or coinage of the Great Persecution, due to the anti Christian events that were taking place in the Eastern Roman empire when these coins were supposedly being minted. I will breakdown each issue and explain why I think each series belongs where it does.


Prior to the coinage reform of Diocletian, Roman coins struck in the 'provinces' were controlled by each city and there were literally hundreds of these mints. That last provincial mints to close would be in the final years of the 3rd century AD. Immediately after his reform there were approximately 16 imperial mints that were allowed to produce coinage, but that number changed as time passed. Three are of particular interest to the 'persecution' series of coins, those being Antioch, Nicomedia, and Alexandria. Any coinage allowed to be struck under it's own authority of the city are considered to be 'civic', and account for most of the mints prior to Diocletian's monetary reform. The coins discussed here were originally attributed to the reign of Julian II due to his renewed persecution of Christians in the 4th century, but that attribution has been challenged and mostly discarded. The more recent hypotheses are that these coins were minted during the reign of Maximinus II Daia for propaganda reasons against Christians and to aid in their persecution, which would make these the last of the civic coins. Four coins are listed here in no particular order, but are grouped so based on the similarities of their reverses and are labeled series I.

Series I
This series is grouped together because all of the reverses show Apollo facing left holding a lyre and patera.

Type A
Mint: Antioch
Obvs: GENIO ANTIOCHENI, Tyche of Antioch facing; river god Orontes swimming below.
Revs: APOLLONI SANCTO, Apollo standing left holding lyre and patera. I in right field, SMA in ex.
AE 15x16mm, 1.64g
Ref: Vagi 2954; Van Heesch 3; McAlee 170j
Note: Ten officinae are known for this issue (A-I).A

Type B