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

Theodosius I, 19 January 379 - 17 January 395 A.D.

Theodosius I, also known as Theodosius the Great, was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire. The son of the famed general Count Theodosius, he was made emperor in the east by Gratian after the death of Valens at the disastrous Battle of Hadrianople, at a time when the East was ravaged in every direction by the Goths. He defeated them, but the Goths secured control of Illyricum establishing a homeland south of the Danube within the Empire's borders. Theodosius defeated the usurpers Magnus Maximus and Eugenius. He ending Roman slavery and inaugurated a feudal society, a pivotal transformation in European history. He effectively made Nicene Christianity the official state church and fostered the destruction of some prominent pagan temples including the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, the Serapeum in Alexandria, and the Vestal Virgins in Rome. In 393, he banned the Olympics in Ancient Greece. It was not until the end of the 19th century, in 1896, that the Olympics were held again. After his death, Theodosius' sons Arcadius and Honorius inherited the East and West halves respectively, and the Roman Empire was never again re-united.The Roman Empire 395 AD


Theodosius I, 19 January 379 - 17 January 395 A.D.

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On 19 January 379, Emperor Gratian elevated Flavius Theodosius at Sirmium, giving him the title Augustus with power over all the eastern provinces. Theodosius came to terms with the Visigoths and settled them in the Balkans as military allies (foederati).
RL85722. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Cyzicus 14(c)3, LRBC II 2550, SRCV V 20482, Cohen VIII 19, VF, well centered, weight 5.385 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 19 Jan 379 - 25 Aug 383 A.D.; obverse D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG, helmeted, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, transverse spear in right hand, shield on left arm; 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, SMKΓ in exergue; $50.00 (42.50)


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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.
RL84230. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC IX Cyzicus 26(b)2, LRBC II 2577, SRCV V 20561, Cohen VIII 30, Choice VF, well centered and struck, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, edge cracks, weight 1.315 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 28 Aug 388 - 15 May 392 A.D.; obverse D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS REIPVBLICAE (health of the Republic), Victory walking left, head right, carrying trophy in right hand, dragging captive with left hand, staurogram left, SMKB in exergue; $32.00 (27.20)


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In 393, Theodosius I outlawed the Olympic Games, ending a thousand years of festivals, as part of the general Christian policy to establish universal Christian worship in accordance with the doctrines set forth in the Nicene Creed.
BB77671. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Constantinopolis 88(a)4, LRBC II 2186, SRCV V 20489, Cohen VIII 18, F, well centered, dark patina, edge split, weight 5.367 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 15 May 392 - 17 Jan 395 A.D.; obverse D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), emperor standing facing, head right, wearing military attire, vexillum in right hand, globe in left hand, CONS∆ in exergue; $25.00 (21.25)


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Treaties with the Goths, signed 3 October 382, permitted large contingents of barbarians, primarily Thervingian Goths, to settle south of the Danube frontier and largely govern themselves. The treaties included military obligations which required the Goths to fight for the Romans as a national contingent, as opposed to being fully integrated into the Roman forces. However, many Goths would serve in Roman legions and others, as foederati, for a single campaign. Bands of Goths switching loyalties became a destabilizing factor in the internal struggles for control of the Empire.
RL77780. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Constantinopolis 57(d)3, LRBC II 2128, SRCV V 20531, Cohen VIII 5, VF, dark green patina, tight flan, earthen encrustations, light scratches, weight 1.972 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 19 Jan 379 - 9 Aug 383 A.D.; obverse D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA AVGGG? (harmony among the three emperors), Constantinopolis seated facing on throne, helmeted head right, scepter in right hand, globe in left hand, right leg bare, right foot on prow, o left, CONSB in exergue; $21.00 (17.85)


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The Edict of Thessalonica (also known as Cunctos populos), issued on 27 February 380 A.D. by the three reigning Roman emperors, ordered all subjects of the Roman Empire to profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and of Alexandria, making Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. In 391, all non-Christian temples in the Empire were closed. The eternal fire in the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum was extinguished, and the Vestal Virgins were disbanded.
RL86264. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Rome 43(d)5, LRBC II 753, SRCV V 20498, Cohen VIII 27, Hunter V 14 var. (3rd officina), F, centered on a tight flan, light corrosion, porous, edge cracks, weight 5.114 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Rome mint, c. 379 - 25 Aug 383 A.D.; obverse D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse REPARATIO REIPVB, Emperor standing half left, raising kneeling turreted woman with his right hand, Victory on globe offering wreath in his left hand, SMRE in exergue; $4.00 (3.40)


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Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared the nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa in the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RL86263. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Nicomedia 40(b)3 (S), LRBC II 2388, SRCV V 20481, Cohen VIII 19, Hunter V 45 var. (3rd officina), aF, centered, rough corrosion on obverse, edge cracks, weight 5.058 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 25 Aug 383 - 28 Aug 388 A.D.; obverse D N THEODO-SIVS P F AVG, helmeted, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, transverse spear in right hand, shield on left arm; 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, SMN∆ in exergue; scarce; $.99 (.84)







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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 Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Theodosius I