A nummus of the type that weighed 1/132 of a pound. It is one of 5 similar coins from the Seaton Down Hoard. It was made between AD 337 and AD 340 in Lyon, in modern France and issued by Constantine II.
This coin has the Chi-Rho (☧) symbol on the reverse inside the soldiers’ standard. This symbol is made using the Greek letters X (chi) and P (rho), which are the first two letters of ‘Christ’ in Greek (XPIΣTOΣ, Christos) and was, and still is, used as an emblem of Christianity. Constantine converted to Christianity after reportedly seeing a vision of the Chi-Rho before the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312 along with the words ‘In this sign thou shalt conquer’. After his success, he went on to sign the Edict of Milan to ensure religious tolerance for Christians and adopted the Chi-Rho in his standards. The Chi-Rho continued to be used by his sons.
The inscription ‘GLORIA EXERCITVS’ means ‘the glory of the army’ and was seen as a celebration of the bravery and fortitude of the soldiers and their military successes. The image depicts two soldiers and one standard and was a common image on coinage.
This object is on display at RAMM in the Making History gallery.