Constantius II, 337-361. Medallion (Bronze, 34 mm, 18.38 g, 6 h), Rome, spring-3 June 350 (?). D N CONSTAN-TIVS P F AVG Rosette-diademed bust of Constantius II to left, wearing imperial mantle and chlamys and raising his right hand in salute. Rev. VICTORIA• - AVGVSTORVM Constantius II, on the right, standing front, head to left, in military attire, holding olive branch in his right hand and spear in his left; on the left, Victory standing facing, head to right, holding palm frond in her right hand and placing her left arm around the emperor's shoulders. Froehner p. 309. Gnecchi II, 35 and pl. 137, 5 (same dies). Ntantalia 133 (V95/R88). RIC 409. Extremely rare and of great historical interest. A spectacular medallion with an impressive portrait and a very attractive reverse. Minor traces of cleaning, otherwise, very fine.
Kent was the first to notice the tight die-linking among a series of medallions issued in Rome in the names of Constans, Constantius II, Magnentius and Decentius. He suggested that our type was issued by Magnentius in spring to summer 350, before Nepotian's revolt on 3 July caused turmoil in Rome (recently redated by Clay and Caza to May or June 351). However, existing die links to medallions in the name of Constans, who was killed on 18 January 350, and of Decentius, whom Magnentius made Caesar in the summer of 350 (or 351?), demonstrate the complexity of the issues, all the more as Magnentius revolted against Constans, and would spend most of his reign fighting against Constantius II.
Yet there is evidence that Magnentius initially hoped to gain Constantius' recognition, despite having murdered his brother. Thus, striking medallions showing the portraits of the usurper as well as of his purported senior Augustus made perfect sense, whereas the continued use of the reverse dies under changing political circumstances - first, under the co-rule of Constantius II and Constans, then, in the first months of Magnentius' rule for Constantius II and the usurper himself, and eventually for Magnentius and his Caesar Decentius - illustrates how the mint of Rome operated during this turbulent period. Eventually, however, Constantius II emerged victorious in the epic struggle between the armies of the West and the East, defeating and killing Magnentius in August 353.