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Roman Empire

Ruler: Helena 1st wife of Constantius I, Mother of Constantine I
Reigned: married 393 AD - died 329 AD
Denomination: Billon Centenionalis
Mint: Trier
Date of Issue: 327-328 AD
Obverse: Diademed and draped bust right, with necklace. "FL. HELENA AVGVSTA"
Reverse: Helena standing left, holding branch. "SECVRITAS REIPVBLICE".
Mint marks:
Reference: RIC VII 508, RCVM 16594
Weight: 3.2 gms
Nominal Weight: 3.2 gms
Diameter: 19.4 mm

HELENA, mother of Constantine I

  • Helena was born in Illyricum (modern Bosnia/Serbia). She was a STABVLARIA, or tavern girl.
  • There she met and married a Roman general, Julius Constantius Chlorus.
  • They had a son, Constantine.
  • On 1 March 293, Diocletian adopted Galerius as son and Caesar, while Maximian, Diocletian's co-ruler, did the same for his praetorian commander Constantius.
  • Part of this arrangement was that Constantius should divorce Helena and marry Theodora, step daughter of Maximian.
  • When Constantine came to power in 306, he bestowed upon his mother the title of NOBILISSIMA FEMINA, meaning "Most Noble Lady".
  • Helena was probably responsible for Constantine's acceptance of Christianity. She was known to the Christian Church as the discoverer of the True Cross during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and credited with bringing back the Holy Steps from Jerusalem to Rome, where they are today, opposite the Church of John the Lateran.
  • She died in 329.

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