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Flavius Dalmatius Caesar Bronze

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 5 / Views: 234Next Topic  
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United States
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 Posted 10/26/2021  7:16 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Lucky Cuss to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I'm no longer surprised at how frequently I come across Roman bronzes of the fourth century CE and later mixed in with collections of modern coins. This is one such, and I almost didn't give it a second glance but for its being rather in nice shape for the genre. It was then I noticed it depicted a personage with whom I wasn't familiar.

It turns out to be an issue of Dalmatius (often spelled Delmatius on his coinage, as is the case with this example).

Dalmatius was a nephew of Constantine the Great, and had been raised to the position of Caesar by his uncle. Shortly following Constantine's death, Dalmatius was murdered by his own troops. It's conjectured that this was pursuant to a purge of possible claimants to imperial power sanctioned by one or more of Constantine's sons.

I take the mint mark to be BSIS (Siscia), and therefore I have it as RIC VII 256 (Sear 16894).





Colligo ergo sum
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Spain
2373 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2021  05:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice find!....One of the slightly more uncommon Caesars.
I've yet to add him to my collection but do find these more obscure rulers interesting...Thanks for sharing.
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United Kingdom
133 Posts
 Posted 10/28/2021  09:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I thought the same when I got a Delmatius. I'd never heard of him, but now I have he turns up quite regularly!

Delmatius bronze follis, 335-337

Trier, second officina. 15mm, 1.64g. FL DELMATI-VS NOB CAES. GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS. From the Nether Compton Hoard, Dorset, England (RIC VII 594).
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Russian Federation
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 Posted 10/30/2021  8:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add january1may to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ironically enough I bought a (probably) Delmatius bronze for $2 a few days ago... though it's in pretty darn bad condition, and my photos don't exactly give it any favors.



I wonder how we know he was Dalmatius with an A; AFAIK the coins are fairly consistent in spelling him Delmatius with an E.
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 Posted 10/30/2021  11:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Lucky Cuss to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I wonder how we know he was Dalmatius with an A...

His father, who was a censor, is recorded as being also named Flavius Dalmatius. I'd guess that "Dalmatius", which I take to be a cognomen, was derived from Dalmatia, which was a Roman province. But I agree that it's curious as to why on most (although not all) of the son's coinage the spelling is rendered as "Delmatius".

Colligo ergo sum
Edited by Lucky Cuss
10/30/2021 11:10 pm
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Sweden
857 Posts
 Posted 10/31/2021  09:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
the coins are fairly consistent in spelling him Delmatius with an E

Indeed, and in most modern contexts his name is spelled with an 'a.' So why is that?

Modern Dalmatia is a province of Croatia and spelled Dalmacija in Croatian, pronounced with an articulated 'a,' like in the English word "up." The Roman province of Dalmatia was significantly larger, covering parts of today's neighboring countries, but that is not important for a discussion about pronunciation.

The name has its origin in a group of tribes called Dalmatae (or Delmatae ...), who lived in the area when the Romans conquered it in 33 BC. Some sources connect the name to the word delme of the Gheg variant of the Albanian language, meaning "sheep." Maybe they were shepherds.

The discussion about how to pronounce the name is not new. Already in Roman times there were different opinions on the pronunciation of Dalmatia. The Latin grammarian Velius Longus writes in his work De Orthographia ("On Spelling," 2nd century AD; here with my emphases): "Placet etiam ut Delmatiam quoque, non Dalmatiam pronuntiemus, quoniam a Delmino, maxima eiusdem provinciae civitate, tractum nomen existimatur."

In (somewhat free) translation: "It also seems proper that we say Delmatia, not Dalmatia, because the name comes from Delminium, the largest city of the same province."

In a vast empire like Rome, there were certainly dialects and different ways of pronouncing names, influenced by local languages. My guess is that Delmatia was what the province was called locally, while perhaps across the Adriatic Sea, in Italy itself, it might have been called Dalmatia.

So, over to Delmatius. The name means "from Delmatia." In all probability, Delmatius reflects the contemporary pronunciation by Delmatius himself and his companions, while in other parts of the Roman empire his name may have been pronounced Dalmatius. On Delmatius's coins his name is almost exclusively spelled DELMATIVS. In RIC I find only a couple of issues from Thessalonika and Nicomedia with the spelling DALMATIVS. That is not a consistent spelling, however, there are other issues from those two mints with the spelling DELMATIVS.

Moving forward in time, both forms are used in Latin texts, but with Dalmatia dominating (based on a rather unscientific survey using Google). By 1815, when the modern Kingdom of Dalmatia was created, spelling with 'a' was the only prevailing. I suppose the modern form Dalmatia has influenced modern historians, considering that to be the "correct" spelling, to modernize Delmatius to Dalmatius - although often adding "but on contemporary coins his name was spelled Delmatius."

Now, if you have read all the way here, you have certainly deserved a coin! Here is my Delmatius:

Delmatius, 336 AD, Arles 1st officina (PCONST). RIC 398.
Obv: [F]L DELMA[TIV]S NOB C
Rev: GLORIA EXER[CITVS]

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