Huge Roman bronze sent for ID. Mark replied:
Yes, it’s a pretty easy one to pin down as to the emperor – I love it when we have nice, clear obverse legends.
I believe this is a smallish bronze sestertius rather an an as, at this weight. This is Gordian III, a young emperor (ascended at the age of 13 or so, I believe) who ruled for a relatively long time towards the beginning of the social, political and economic chaos of the 3rd century. He ruled from 238-244 – from the time of the defeat of his uncle and grandfather, Gordians I & II until he was deposed by the Praetorian prefect Philip (I, “The Arab”)
The sestertius, which had previously primarily been struck in “orichalcum” brass had by this time become a fully bronze piece. The obverse legend on this is IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG. Gordian was given the title “Pius” (faithful) due to his significant efforts to punish the legion responsible for the downfall and death of his uncle and gandfather.
What I can’t be quite so certain about is the reverse type. We have only the lower half of the figure, hips and legs – and possibly a raised hand, to work with and so it could be any of the personifications or deities portrayed standing in this posture. I believe the legend is probably “AETERNITAS AVG; S – C” with radiate Sol standing facing, head left, raising right hand and holding globe in left – but I can’t be 100% certain. This is a commonly-seen type for Gordian – an as of the same type and issue:
This piece, at 9.09g, is just about right at average for an As – yours at 12+g must have been a sestertius since dupondii invariably had the ruler wearing the radiate crown.
Not a bad find, considering how profoundly chipped and deteriorated a lot of the Æ you’ve been finding lately seems to be – this isn’t nearly so bad as some. Mark
Weight: 13.09 g
Diameter: 29.27 mm