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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Late Empire ▸ Aelia FlaccillaView Options:  |  |  | 

Aelia Flaccilla, Augusta 19 January 379 - 386 A.D., Wife of Theodosius I

Aelia Flavia Flaccilla was the wife of Theodosius I, who reigned 379 - 395 A.D., and mother of the emperors Arcadius and Honorius. She was known for her piety and generosity to the poor. St. Ambrose describes her as "a soul true to God." Theodoret, in particular, exalts her humility, charity, and benevolence (Church History V.19, ed. Valesius, III, 192 sq.). He tells us how she personally tended the disabled. Aelia was honored by future empresses who took her first name as a title. She is commemorated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church; her feast day is 14 September.


Aelia Flaccilla, Augusta 19 January 379 - 386 A.D., Wife of Theodosius I

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Aelia Flaccilla was a fervent supporter of the Nicene Creed. Sozomen reports her preventing a conference between Theodosius and Eunomius of Cyzicus who served as figurehead of Anomoeanism, a sect of Arians. Ambrose and Gregory of Nyssa praise her Christian virtue and comment on her role as "a leader of justice" and "pillar of the Church." She is commemorated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church; her feast day is 14 September.
RL70543. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 35.2 (R2), LRBC II 1566, SRCV V 20623, Cohen VIII 5, VF, excellent centering, weight 0.926 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 25 Aug 383 - autumn 384 A.D.; obverse AEL FLACCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right; reverse SALVS REIPVBLICAE (health of the Republic), Victory seated right inscribing Christogram on shield set on cippus, BSIS in exergue; rare; $180.00 (160.20)


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Aelia Flaccilla, like her husband Theodosius, was of Hispanian-Roman descent. She may have been the daughter of Claudius Antonius, Prefect of Gaul, who was consul in 382. Her marriage with Theodosius probably took place in the year 376, when Theodosius' father fell into disfavor and he withdrew to Cauca in Gallaecia.
RL84859. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Antioch 62 (S), LRBC II 2760, SRCV V 20621 corr. (mislabeled Cyzicus), Cohen VIII 6, VF, nice portrait, attractive patina, light porosity, weight 4.522 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 135o, 5th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 25 Aug 383 - 386 A.D.; obverse AEL FLACCILLA AVG, draped bust right with an elaborate head dress, necklace and mantle; reverse SALVS REIPVBLICAE (health of the Republic), Aelia Flaccilla standing facing, head right, arms folded on breast, ANTE exergue; ex Colosseum Coin Exchange; scarce; $180.00 (160.20)


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The Christogram (also called a Monogramma Christi or Chrismon) is a ligature of Chi (X) and Rho (P), the first two letters of Christ in Greek. It was among the earliest symbols of Christianity. The crucifix was rarely used in early Christian iconography, perhaps because most people then had personally witnessed its gruesome use for public execution.
RL84369. Bronze maiorina, Hunter V 3 (also 5th officina), RIC IX Constantinopolis 55.5 (S), LRBC II 2149, SRCV V 20611, Cohen VIII 4,, F, centered on a tight flan, green patina with earthen highlighting, rough, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 25 Aug 383 - 386 A.D.; obverse AEL FLACCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right, hair in plait up back and top of head; reverse SALVS REIPVBLICAE (health of the Republic), Victory seated right, inscribing Christogram on shield set on column, CONE in exergue; scarce; $70.00 (62.30)


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Aelia Flaccilla died of natural causes early in 386. Her death is mentioned by (among others) Claudian, Zosimus, Philostorgius and Joannes Zonaras. According to the Chronicon Paschale, the palatium Flaccillianum of Constantinople was named in her honor. A statue of her was placed within the Byzantine Senate.
RL77781. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC IX Antioch 64 (R), LRBC II 2744, SRCV V 20628, Cohen VIII 5, F/VF, dark green patina, small edge cracks, weight 1.468 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 25 Aug 383 - 386 A.D.; obverse AEL FLACCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right; reverse SALVS REIPVBLICAE (health of the Republic), Victory seated right, inscribing Christogram on shield set on cippus, ANE in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare; $36.00 (32.04)







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AEL FLACCILLA AVG

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, W. Moneta Imperii Romani-Byzantinii. (Vienna, 1989).
King, C. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Pearce, J. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. 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. 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 Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Aelia Flacilla