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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Late Empire ▸ Valentinian IView Options:  |  |  | 

Valentinian I, 25 February 364 - 17 November 375 A.D.

Upon becoming emperor Valentinian I made his brother Valens his co-emperor, giving him rule of the eastern provinces while Valentinian retained the west. During his reign, Valentinian successfully fought the Alamanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians. Most notable was his victory over the Alamanni in 367 at the Battle of Solicinium. His brilliant general Count Theodosius defeated a revolt in Africa, and the Great Conspiracy, a coordinated assault on Roman Britain by Picts, Scots, and Saxons. Valentinian was the last emperor to conduct campaigns across both the Rhine and Danube rivers. He rebuilt and improved the fortifications along the frontiers, even building fortresses in enemy territory. He founded the Valentinian Dynasty, with his sons Gratian and Valentinian II succeeding him in the western half of the empire. Due to the successful nature of his reign and almost immediate decline of the empire after his death, he is often considered the "last great western emperor."


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The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus described a tsunami hitting Alexandria and other places in the early hours of 21 July 365: "Slightly after daybreak, and heralded by a thick succession of fiercely shaken thunderbolts, the solidity of the whole earth was made to shake and shudder, and the sea was driven away, its waves were rolled back, and it disappeared, so that the abyss of the depths was uncovered and many-shaped varieties of sea-creatures were seen stuck in the slime; the great wastes of those valleys and mountains, which the very creation had dismissed beneath the vast whirlpools, at that moment, as it was given to be believed, looked up at the sun's rays. Many ships, then, were stranded as if on dry land, and people wandered at will about the paltry remains of the waters to collect fish and the like in their hands; then the roaring sea as if insulted by its repulse rises back in turn, and through the teeming shoals dashed itself violently on islands and extensive tracts of the mainland, and flattened innumerable buildings in towns or wherever they were found. Thus in the raging conflict of the elements, the face of the earth was changed to reveal wondrous sights. For the mass of waters returning when least expected killed many thousands by drowning, and with the tides whipped up to a height as they rushed back, some ships, after the anger of the watery element had grown old, were seen to have sunk, and the bodies of people killed in shipwrecks lay there, faces up or down. Other huge ships, thrust out by the mad blasts, perched on the roofs of houses, as happened at Alexandria, and others were hurled nearly two miles from the shore, like the Laconian vessel near the town of Methone which I saw when I passed by, yawning apart from long decay." The tsunami was so devastating that anniversary was still commemorated annually at the end of the 6th century in Alexandria as a "day of horror." Valentinian I sent an investigator to assess the impact on taxes.
RL79902. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Alexandria 2(a)1 (S), LRBC II 2856, SRCV V 19483, Cohen VII 21, Hunter V -, Nice VF, well centered and struck, nice green patina with reddish earthen highlighting, weight 2.897 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 90o, 1st officina, Alexandria mint, 28 Mar 364 - 24 Aug 367 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse RESTITVTOR REIP, emperor standing facing, head right, vexillum with X on banner in right hand, Victory on globe offering wreath in his left hand, ALEA in exergue; scarce; $50.00 (44.50)


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RIC IX Alexandria 3(a) and 5(a) are indistinguishable. RIC IX Alexandria 3(a) is dated 25 Feb 364 - 24 Aug 367. RIC IX Alexandria 5(a) is dated 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375. It is possible that the type was not continued into the later emission. All examples may actually be RIC IX Alexandria 3(a).
RL76371. Billon centenionalis, RIC IX Alexandria 3(a) and 5a, LRBC II 2860 and 2862, Cohen VIII 37, SRCV V 19527, Hunter -, Choice VF, well centered, nice patina, weight 1.870 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Alexandria mint, 25 Feb 364 - 24 Aug 367 (or until 17 Nov 375); obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE (security of the Republic), Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, ALE∆ in exergue; $45.00 (40.05)


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In November 375, Valentinian I concluded a peace treaty with the Alamanni in Germany, then marched into Illyrium to repel an invasion of the Quadi and the Sarmatians on the Danube frontier. On 17 November 375, while negotiating with the Quadi, Valentinian, age 54, became so enraged that he died in a fit of apoplexy at Brigetio (Hungary). Extreme cruelty marked his 11-year reign but he founded schools and provided physicians to serve the poor of Constantinople.
RL70759. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 14(a)xvi, LRBC II 1327, SRCV V 19450, Cohen VIII 12, VF, centered, green patina, weight 2.409 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 225o, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), emperor dragging captive with right, labarum (chi-rho standard) in left, M left, * / F right, BSISC in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $32.00 (28.48)


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On 1 November 365, the Alamanni crossed the Rhine and invaded Gaul. Valentinian I moved to Paris to defend the Gallic cities. Large numbers of Alamanni crossed the frozen Rhine into the Empire on 2 January 366. Valentinian moved his base to Trier and in 368 defeated the Alamanni near the Rhine.
RL70762. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 5(a)ii, LRBC II 1275, SRCV V 19447, Cohen VIII 12, VF, centered, weight 2.619 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 25 Feb 364 - 24 Aug 367 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), emperor dragging captive with right, labarum (chi-rho standard) in left, ΓSISC in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $32.00 (28.48)


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Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RL77794. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 7(a)ii, LRBC II 1277, SRCV V 19506, Cohen VIII 37, Choice VF, well centered and struck, green patina with some copper high points, flan crack, weight 2.471 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 25 Feb 364 - 24 Aug 367 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE (security of the Republic), Victory advancing right, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, ∆SISC in exergue; $32.00 (28.48)


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Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RL77796. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 15(a)xvi, LRBC II 1329, SRCV V 19509, Cohen VIII 37, Choice VF, nice green patina, some light marks, weight 2.438 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE (security of the Republic), Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, * over F left, M right, ∆SISC in exergue; $32.00 (28.48)


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They look similar, but there is a significant physical difference between angels and Victory. Angels are all male. Victory (Nike) is female. On Byzantine coinage, the male angel replaced the female Victory after the reunion with Rome was concluded on 28 March 519 A.D.
RL77798. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 7(a)ii, LRBC II 1277, SRCV V 19506, Cohen VIII 37, Choice VF, well centered and struck, green patina, some porosity, weight 2.637 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 25 Feb 364 - 24 Aug 367 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE (security of the Republic), Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, ∆SISC in exergue; $28.00 (24.92)


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They look similar, but there is a significant physical difference between angels and Victory. Angels are all male. Victory (Nike) is female. On Byzantine coinage, the male angel replaced the female Victory after the reunion with Rome was concluded on 28 March 519 A.D.
RL77797. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 7(a)ii, LRBC II 1277, SRCV V 19506, Cohen VIII 37, VF, green patina, nice obverse, reverse a little rough, weight 2.250 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 25 Feb 364 - 24 Aug 367 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE (security of the Republic), Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, ∆SISC in exergue; $20.00 (17.80)







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

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REFERENCES

Carson, R., P. Hill & J. Kent. Late Roman Bronze Coinage. (London, 1960).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 8: Nepotian to Romulus Augustus, plus tesserae & cotorniates. (Paris, 1888).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Constantin II Zenon (337-491). Moneta 5. (Wetteren, 1996).
Hahn, Wolfgang. Moneta Imperii Romani-Byzantinii. (Vienna, 1989).
King, C.E. & D.R. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Paolucci, R. & A. Zub. La monetazione di Aquileia Romana. (Padova, 2000).
Pearce, J.W.E. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Volume IX, Valentinian I - Theodosius I. (London 1933).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. V. Diocletian (Reform) to Zeno. (Oxford, 1982).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. V: The Christian Empire...Constantine II to Zeno, AD 337 - 491. (London, 2014).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Monday, June 26, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Valentinian I