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

Valentinian II, 17 November 375 - 15 May 392 A.D.

Valentinian II was the son of Valentinian I and declared Augustus shortly after his father's death. He seems to have exercised no real authority, and was a figurehead for various powerful interests: his mother, his co-emperors, and powerful generals. His influence steadily waned, and after the death of Gratian, he only controlled Italy. Although he and Theodosius II quickly repulsed the invasion of Magnus Maximus in 387 A.D., Theodosius remained in Milan until 391 and Valentinian took no part in the triumphal celebrations. Valentinian and his court were installed at Vienne, Gaul. Theodosius appointed his trusted general Arbogast, a Frank, as magister militum for the Western provinces (excluding Africa) and guardian of Valentinian. Acting in the name of Valentinian, Arbogast was actually subordinate only to Theodosius. While the general campaigned successfully on the Rhine, the young emperor remained at Vienne, in contrast to his warrior father and his older brother, who had campaigned at his age. Valentinian II was strangled, probably on the order of Arbogastes.


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In 380, Rome's enemies the Germans, Sarmatians and Huns were taken into Imperial service; barbarian leaders began to play an increasingly active role in the Roman Empire.
RL74501. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC IX Thessalonica 62(a)1 (S), LRBC II 1864, SRCV V 20340, Cohen VIII 12 corr., VF, interesting turrets, tight and slightly irregular flan, weight 0.925 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 345o, 1st officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 384 - 28 Aug 388 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA REIPVBLICE (glory of the Republic), campgate with two turrets, A left, TES in exergue; $110.00 (97.90)


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The reverse legend dedicates this coin to the restoration of the Republic. The turreted woman symbolizes the cities and the state of Rome, grateful to the Emperor who lifts her up while he holds the world in his hand and is crowned by Victory.
RL84392. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Siscia 26(b)1, LRBC II 1513, SRCV V 20276, Cohen VIII 22, Hunter V 29 var. (2nd officina), Choice aVF, dark green patina, weight 6.099 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 45o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 9 Aug 378 - 25 Aug 383; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS IVN P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse REPARATIO REIPVB, emperor standing slightly left, head left, raising kneeling turreted woman before him with his right hand, Victory on globe offering wreath in his left hand, ASISC in exergue; $50.00 (44.50)


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While Constantine and his sons had been strong military figures, they had also re-established the practice of hereditary succession, adopted by Valentinian I. The obvious flaw in these two competing requirements came in the reign of Valentinian II, a child. His reign was a harbinger of the fifth century, when children or nonentities, reigning as emperors, were controlled by powerful generals and officials.
RL77944. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Aquileia 32(b) (S), LRBC II 1069, SRCV V 20291, Cohen VIII 8, VF, nice green patina, earthen encrustations, edge split, scratches, weight 2.582 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Aquileia mint, 375 - 378 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS IVN P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA AVGGG (harmony among the three emperors), Roma seated facing, helmeted head left, globe in right hand, reversed spear in left hand, left leg bare, SMAQP in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; scarce; $40.00 (35.60)


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After the defeat of Maximus, Theodosius remained in Milan until 391. Valentinian took no part in Theodosius' triumphal celebrations over Maximus. Valentinian and his court were installed at Vienne in Gaul, while Theodosius appointed key administrators in the West. Theodosius appointed his trusted general Arbogast, a Frank, as magister militum for the Western provinces (bar Africa) and guardian of Valentinian. Acting in the name of Valentinian, Arbogast was actually subordinate only to Theodosius. While the general campaigned successfully on the Rhine, the young emperor remained at Vienne, in contrast to his warrior father and his older brother, who had campaigned at his age. He was strangled, probably on the order of Arbogastes.
RL84717. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC IX Constantinopolis 86(a)1 (S), LRBC II 2183, SRCV V 20345, Cohen VII 30, VF/F, uneven reverse strike, weight 0.804 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 25 Aug 388 - 15 May 392 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS REIPVBLICAE (health of the Republic), Victory walking left, head right, holding trophy and dragging captive, staurogram (P) in left field, CONSB in exergue; scarce; $25.00 (22.25)


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Thessalonica was founded around 315 B.C. by Cassander, King of Macedonia, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a daughter of Philip II and a half-sister of Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C. it became the capital of the Macedonia Secunda and in 146 B.C. it was made the capital of the whole Roman province of Macedonia. Due to its port and location at the intersection of two major Roman roads, Thessalonica grew to become the most important city in Macedonia. Thessalonica was important in the spread of Christianity; the First Epistle to the Thessalonians written by Paul the Apostle is the first written book of the New Testament.
RL84366. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Thessalonica 44(a)2, LRBC II 1832, SRCV V 20257, Cohen VIII 22, aF, rough, slightly off center on a tight flan, weight 5.882 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 25 Aug 383 - 28 Aug 386 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS P F AVG, helmeted, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right holding spear and shield; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Emperor standing slightly left on galley, head right, wearing helmet and military garb, paludamentum flying behind, raising right hand in salute, Victory seated steering at stern, wreath left, TESA in exergue; $8.99 (8.00)







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

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DNVALENTINIANVSPFAVG


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, May 27, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Valentinian II