November 2016, a bridge too far?
This is one of the smallest and rarest coins in the Seaton Down Hoard. As it is smaller it was probably worth less than the nummi that make up the vast majority of the coins in the hoard. The most intriguing aspect of this coin is the picture of the bridge on the reverse side. It is one of only two such coins in the hoard.
What does the bridge mean?
This coin celebrates Constantinople and Rome, the twin capital cities of Emperor Constantine the Great’s empire. Two coins issued in AD 330, one depicted a bridge and the other a star. The bridge was a symbol for Rome, it represents ones of the bridges over the River Tiber. A star was the symbol for Constantinople. The bridge may also symbolise the political links between the two capitals.
It is also possible that bridge refers to one of Constantine’s greatest military victories. In AD 312 Constantine fought a battle at Milvian Bridge near Rome. Constantine defeated his rival Maxentius and became sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Constantine attributed his success to the divine intervention of the Christian god. It was said that this event led him to accept Christianity as an official religion. By depicting a bridge on a coin, Constantine may have wanted to remind people of his victory or it may have become a subtle Christian symbol.