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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Late Empire ▸ GratianView Options:  |  |  | 

Gratian, 24 August 367 - 25 August 383 A.D.

Gratian, son of Valentinian I, became the sole ruler of the Western empire in 375 A.D., and after the catastrophic defeat of the Roman forces at Hadrianopolis, the Eastern empire also came under his rule. To better cope with the empire, he elevated general Theodosius to the Eastern throne. Because of a shortage of coinage to meet the payroll, Gratian was abandoned by his troops during the revolt of Magnus Maximus. He was overtaken and killed while fleeing to the Alps.


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Gratian was Roman emperor from 367 to 383. The eldest son of Valentinian I, Gratian accompanied, during his youth, his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube frontiers. Upon the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratian's brother Valentinian II was declared emperor by his father's soldiers. In 378, Gratian's generals won a decisive victory over the Lentienses, a branch of the Alamanni, at the Battle of Argentovaria. Gratian subsequently led a campaign across the Rhine, the last emperor to do so, and attacked the Lentienses, forcing the tribe to surrender. That same year, his uncle Valens was killed in the Battle of Adrianople against the Goths making Gratian essentially ruler of the entire Roman Empire. He favoured Christianity over traditional Roman religion, refusing the divine attributes of the Emperors and removing the Altar of Victory from the Roman Senate.
RL87982. Bronze maiorina, Hunter V 25 (also 3rd officina), RIC IX Arelate 20(a)3, LRBC II 548, SRCV V 20005, Cohen VIII 30, VF, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, light marks and scratches, tiny edge splits, weight 4.911 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Constantina-Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, c. 379 - 25 August 383 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse REPARATIO REIPVB, emperor standing facing, head left, right hand raising kneeling turreted woman, Victory on globe offering wreath in his left hand, TCON in exergue; ex Harlan Berk 2002; $80.00 (68.00)


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Gratian was the son of Valentinian I by Marina Severa, and was born at Sirmium (now Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) in Pannonia. He was named after his grandfather Gratian the Elder. Gratian was first married to Flavia Maxima Constantia, daughter of Constantius II. His second wife was Laeta. Both marriages remained childless. His stepmother was Empress Justina and his paternal half siblings were Valentinian II, Galla and Justa.
SH46445. Gold solidus, RIC IX Constantinopolis 24 (R2); Depeyrot, p. 236, 21/3; SRCV V 19899, Cohen VIII 28, Choice gF, full circles centering on a nice round flan, light obverse graffiti, reverse mark, weight 4.273 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PRINCIPIVM IVVENTVTIS, Gratian standing half-right, nimbate, wearing military dress, spear transverse in right hand, globe in left hand, *CONS followed by wreath in exergue; rare; SOLD


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After Valentinian died on 17 November 375, the troops in Pannonia proclaimed his infant son (by a second wife Justina) emperor under the title of Valentinian II. Gratian acquiesced in their choice; reserving for himself the administration of the Gallic provinces, he handed over Italy, Illyricum and Africa to Valentinian and his mother, who fixed their residence at Mediolanum. The division, however, was merely nominal, and the real authority remained in the hands of Gratian.
RL34995. Silver siliqua, RIC IX Aquileia 15(b)3, RSC V 87f, SRCV V 19968, Choice aEF, toned, bold, near perfectly centering, weight 2.298 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Aquileia mint, 17 Nov 375 - 9 Aug 378 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VRBS ROMA (City of Rome), Roma seated left on cuirass, helmeted, draped, Victory offering wreath on globe in right hand, reversed spear behind in left, star right, AQPS in exergue; SOLD







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DNGRATIANVSAVG
DNGRATIANVSAVGGAVG
DNGRATIANVSPFAVG


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 Saturday, February 16, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Gratian