Saint HELENA Constantine the Great Mother RARE Star

Ancient Coins - Saint HELENA Constantine the Great Mother RARE Star
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Helena 'known as Saint Helena'- Mother of Constantine the Great -

Bronze Follis 19mm (2.45 grams) Thessalonica mint: 318-319 A.D.

HELENA N F, draped bust right.

Eight-pointed star in laurel wreath.
Reference: RIC VII 50; Kent-Hirmer pl. 162, 637; LRBC 821


Flavia Julia Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, was born in 248 AD and began her career as a barmaid in Naissus (Moesia). She became the mistress, and possibly wife, of Flavius Constantius before his elevation to the rank of Caesar and bore him a son, Constantinus (Constantine the Great) about 272/3. On Constantius' appointment as Caesar in 293 he was obliged to repudiate Helena in favor of Theodora, stepdaughter of the western Augustus Maximian. Helena followed her son's example in converting to Christianity after the victory over Maxentius in 312 and became very active in promoting the interests of Church. Her elevation to the rank of Augusta did not take place until 324 in connection with the celebration of Constantine's victory over his rival, Licinius, which gave him control of the whole Empire. Two years later Helena seems to have played a key role in revealing the treachery of her daughter-in-law, the empress Fausta, in the affair of Crispus Caesar's disgrace and execution. Fausta herself was put to death after which Helena left Rome on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She died on her return to the West in 329 AD and was later canonized. Her festival is still celebrated in the Greek Orthodox Church.


The coinage of Helena as Augusta commenced with her elevation to full imperial status in 324 and continued until her death five years later. Preceding these issues, however was a remarkable series struck circa 318 AD at the Thessalonica mint on which both Helena and her daughter-in-law Fausta are accorded the lesser title of Nobilissima Femina (N F). Both ladies had borne this rank for come considerable time, Helena since her son's elevation to imperial status in 306, Fausta since her marriage to Constantine in March of the following year. The significance of the anepigraphic reverse with star within wreath remains unexplained, though presumable it contains reference to divine providence and destiny.

Ancient Coins - Saint HELENA Constantine the Great Mother RARE Star
Ancient Coins - Saint HELENA Constantine the Great Mother RARE Star
Price SKU: 6493
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