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ID number:  BIRBI-LR155
Object type:  Coin
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Named collection:  G. Haines Collection
Collector:  Haines, Geoffrey
Maker:  Valentinian II (375-392)
Denomination:  Solidus
Place made:  Mint of Constantinople
Culture:  Roman
Date made:  383-388
Metal:  Gold
Weight (g):  4.45

Description:  Obverse: Bust of Valentinian II facing left, wearing diadem, cuirass and cloak.
Reverse: Constantinopolis draped and helmeted, seated on a throne. Constantinopolis is holding a sceptre and a globe, her foot rests on the prow of a ship.

Valentinian II became the junior partner in ruling the Roman Empire along with his elder brother Gratian in 375. Instead of giving Valentinian the rule of the Eastern Empire, as his father had done with his younger brother, Gratian promoted a general Theodosius, to the Eastern throne. Despite his success Gratian was murdered by rebellious troops in 383, leaving Valentinian in control of Italy and Illyricum, the rebels in control of Gaul, Britain and Spain. By 387 Valentinian had been forced to flee to Thessalonica, where he sought the Emperor Theodosius’ help in regaining his throne. Theodosius was successful in defeating the rebels and Valentinian ruled until 392 when he was killed by his master of soldiers. What is particularly interesting about this coin is that it was minted in Constantinople, a city never ruled by Valentinian. Despite the fact that the Roman Empire was divided into two parts, in many ways it was still one empire, but with multiple rulers. This explains why coins minted by the Eastern Empire depict the Western emperor and vice versa. The multiple G’s at the end of the reverse inscription correspond to the number of emperors at that time.

Inscriptions:  Obverse: DNVALENTINI ANVSPFAVG (Our Lord Valentinian Dutiful, Happy, Augustus)
Reverse: CONCORDI AAVGGGZ (Concord of the emperors [officina Z]) CONOB (CON=Mint mark of Constantinople, OB=obrizum, refined gold) in exergue.

Bibliography:  Pearce, J. The Roman Imperial Coinage Vol IX, Valentinian I –Theodosius I H. Mattingly, C.H.V. Sutherland and R.A.G. Carson eds. (London 1968) Coin 69b.

2 Related People

Whitting, Philip David
Haines, Geoffrey Colton
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