320-1, Crispus -
Crispus. Caesar, AD 316-326. Æ Follis (20mm, 3.22 g, 7h). Londinium (London) mint. Struck AD 320-321. CRISPV-S NOBIL C, helmeted and cuirassed bust right / VIRTVS EXERCIT, signum; bound captive seated to left and right; PLON. RIC VII 188 (R3).
The output of the mints at Londinium, Lugdunum, and Treveri served as an important source of propaganda for the entirety of the western empire during the first quarter of the fourth century AD. Constantine and Licinius both drew upon a variety of reverse designs in order to signify such ideas as strength, tranquility, and prosperity, though matters between the two were ever-unstable as war broke out between them in AD 316, most likely over a mutual envy and mistrust of one another. The resulting peace in early AD 317 was short-lived and tensions were only subdued, as hostilities once again gradually increased, culminating in the battle of Chrysopolis in AD 324, the execution of the Licinii, and the sole-reign of the house of Constantine.
The virtue of the empire’s forces is represented and honored with the virtus exercit(um) type, and this particular coinage was possibly used for donatives to the troops.
Images and data courtesy of CNG.