I spent five weeks teaching a series on Biblical archaeology recently (hence all the posts on Biblical archaeology). Seeing my interest in ancient artifacts, one of the men from our church, Tony, gave me a coin of Constantine I. Not only was Constantine I the first Christian Roman emperor, but he was also the first Roman emperor to legalize Christianity (technically Emperor Galerius legalized Christianity two years before Constantine, but Galerius’ edict did not restore the Christians’ confiscated property). Christianity had been an illegal religion for nearly 250 years before Constantine. He was also the one who called for the first church council at Nicea in AD 325. And I am the owner of one of the coins minted with his image on it!
The front of the coin pictures Constantine himself. His name appears to the left in Latin form. I don’t know what it says to his right. The reverse depicts two soldiers holding spears and shields with two Roman standards between them. Unfortunately, I do not know the translation of the Latin words.
I have tried to locate the exact provenance of the coin, but have been unable to do so. I’ve seen coins that are very similar to mine, and they were minted between 330-335, approximately 20 years after the Edict of Milan, and 5-10 years after the Council of Nicea. Perhaps that is when mine was minted as well. Whatever its origin, it is cool!