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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Late Empire| ▸ |Arcadius||View Options:  |  |  |   

Arcadius, 19 January 383 - 1 May 408 A.D.

Flavius Arcadius was the son of Theodosius I and Aelia Flaccilla. Born in 377 A.D., Arcadius was raised to the rank of Augustus by his father at the age of six. Upon the death of Theodosius in 395 A.D., Arcadius was given the Eastern half of the Roman empire while his brother Honorius received the Western half. Arcadius inherited none of his great father's skills and was under the influence of variously Rufinus the Praetorian prefect, Eutropius a courtier eunuch, the Goth Gainas, Empress Eudoxia and another Praetorian prefect Anthemius. His greatest personal accomplishment in life was his beautiful handwriting. Arcadius died in 408 A.D. and was succeeded by his young son Theodosius II. The Roman Empire 395 AD


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In 400, the Great Palace in Constantinople was burned to the ground in riots. In the chaos, the Gothic leader Gainas attempted to evacuate his soldiers out of the city but 7,000 armed Goths were trapped and killed by order of Arcadius. After the massacre, Gainas escaped across the Hellespont, but his rag-tag ad hoc fleet was destroyed by Fravitta, a Gothic chieftain in imperial service. In winter, Gainas led his remaining Goths back to their homeland across the Danube where they were attacked and killed by the Huns. Uldin, the Hun chieftain, sent Gainas' head to Arcadius as a gift.
SH05313. Gold solidus, DOCLR 212 (also 5th officina), RIC X Arcadius 7 (S), Depeyrot 55/1, SRCV V 20706, Hunter V 33 - 34 var. (officina), EF, weight 4.38 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 397 - c. 403 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, helmeted bust facing, pearl diademed, cuirassed, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left arm decorated with a horseman riding down and spearing a fallen enemy; reverse CONCORDIA AVGG E (harmony between the two emperors, 5th officina), Constantinopolis enthroned facing, holding Victory on globe in left and scepter in right, foot on prow, CONOB in exergue; graffiti on obverse and reverse; scarce; SOLD


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In 402, Germanic settlers laid siege to Milan. Honorius transferred the capital of the Western Empire from Milan to Ravenna. General Stilicho recalled troops from the frontiers of the Empire to defend Italy. On April 6 he defeated the Visigoths at the Battle of Pollentia. The Visigoths left Italy for Illyricum after Stilicho defeated them at the Battle of Verona in June 403.
SH10008. Gold solidus, RIC X Honorius 1205dC, Mint State, weight 4.45 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 395 - 402 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG (victory of the three emperors), Arcadius standing right holding standard and Victory on globe, treading on bearded captive, M left, D right, CONOB in exergue; SOLD


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In 400, the Great Palace in Constantinople was burned to the ground in riots. In the chaos, the Gothic leader Gainas attempted to evacuate his soldiers out of the city but 7,000 armed Goths were trapped and killed by order of Arcadius. After the massacre, Gainas escaped across the Hellespont, but his rag-tag ad hoc fleet was destroyed by Fravitta, a Gothic chieftain in imperial service. In winter, Gainas led his remaining Goths back to their homeland across the Danube where they were attacked and killed by the Huns. Uldin, the Hun chieftain, sent Gainas' head to Arcadius as a gift.
SH10007. Gold solidus, DOCLR 217 (also 9th officina), RIC X Arcadius 7 (S), Depeyrot 55/1, SRCV V 20706, Hunter V 33 - 34 var. (officina), about Mint State, weight 4.35 g, 9th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 397 - c. 403 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, helmeted bust facing, pearl diademed, cuirassed, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left arm decorated with a horseman riding down and spearing a fallen enemy; reverse CONCORDIA AVGG Θ (harmony between the two emperors, 9th officina), Constantinopolis enthroned facing, holding Victory on globe in left and scepter in right, foot on prow, CONOB in exergue; scarce; SOLD


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In 399, Gainas, a Gothic leader, was made magister militum. He formed an alliance with deserters of Tribigild along the Bosphorus, proclaimed himself co-regent (usurper), and then installed his forces in Constantinople. Gainas deposed anti-Gothic officials and had Arcadius' the imperial advisor (cubicularius) Eutropius executed.
SH06926. Gold solidus, RIC X Arcadius 7 (S), Depeyrot 55/1, SRCV V 20706, DOCLR 207- 217 var. (none from 4th officina), Hunter V 33 - 34 var. (same), Choice EF, weight 4.43 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 135o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 397 - 402 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, holding shield decorated with horseman and spear over shoulder; reverse CONCORDIA AVGG ∆ (harmony between the two emperors, 4th officina), Constantinopolis seated facing, head right, holding scepter in right and Victory in left, foot on prow, CONOB in exergue; ex Scott collection; scarce; SOLD


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In 390 A.D., Jerome, having finished his Latin translation of the New Testament begun in 382, began translating the Old Testament. Jerome was a scholar at a time when that statement implied a fluency in Greek. He knew some Hebrew when he started his translation project, but moved to Jerusalem to strengthen his grip on Jewish scripture commentary. A wealthy Roman aristocrat, Paula, funded his stay in a monastery in Bethlehem and he completed his translation there. By 390 he turned to translating the Hebrew Bible from the original Hebrew, having previously translated portions from the Septuagint which came from Alexandria. He believed that the Council of Jamnia, or mainstream Rabbinical Judaism, had rejected the Septuagint as valid Jewish scriptural texts because of what were ascertained as mistranslations along with its Hellenistic heretical elements. He completed this work by 405. He is recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church, and the Church of England (Anglican Communion).
RS43288. Silver siliqua, RIC IX Lyon 43(c), RSC V 28Bb, DOCLR 201, SRCV V 20759, VF, weight 2.070 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 388 - 392 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VRBS ROMA (City of Rome), Roma seated left on cuirass, Victory on globe in right hand, inverted spear in left, LVGPS in exergue; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Constans II, September 641 - 15 July 668 A.D., Overstruck on an Arcadius AE2

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Overstruck on an Arcadius AE2! This coin was overstruck on a maiorina of the Roman emperor Arcadius, struck more than 250 years earlier (25 Aug 383 - 28 Aug 388), at Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey).

Only II is visible in the regnal date, which is more common than not for the type. Despite that, references agree this scarce type was only struck in regnal year 3.
BZ85347. Bronze follis, DOC II part 1, 62; Morrisson BnF 14; Sommer 12.47, SBCV 1002; W -; T -; R -; undertype: RIC X Cyzicus 25(c) (Arcadius, maiorina, 383 - 388 A.D.), Choice gF, well centered, attractive desert patina with red earthen highlighting, extraordinary undertype effects, weight 5.323 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Constantinople mint, 643 - 644 A.D.; obverse EN To?TO NIKA (In this, be victorious), Constans, standing facing, wearing crown and chlamys, long scepter topped with Christogram in right, globus cruciger in left; undertype: legend, VIRTVS EXERCITI, and mintmark, SMKA (Cyzicus mint, 1st officina); reverse large m (40 nummi), ANA above, cross above and below III (regnal year 3) left, NEOς right and curving below, B (2nd officina) below; undertype: legend, D N A[RCADIVS P F AVG] (A with open top resembling H); rare overstrike; SOLD


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In Spring 451, Attila gathered his vassals (Bastarnae, Gepids, Heruls, Ostrogoths, Rugians, Scirians, Thuringians, and others) and smashed through Germany, causing widespread panic and destruction. He arrived in Belgica with an army of 50,000 men and crossed the Rhine. In April and May, Attila destroyed Strasbourg, Worms, Mainz, Trier, Cologne, Reims, Tournai, Cambrai, Amiens and Beauvais. In June, Attila laid siege to Aurelianum (modern Orléans). The Roman magister militum Flavius Aetius moved from Italy into Gaul, and joined forces with the Visigoth king Theodoric I. On 20 June, at the Battle of Châlons, the Roman-Visigoth coalition defeated the Huns. Theodoric I was killed in the encounter. This was the last military victory of the Western Roman Empire.
RL79947. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC X Marcian 543 (R), LRBC II 2249, DOCLR 495, MIRB 29, SRCV V 21395, VF, near full obverse legend, green patina, some earthen deposits, light marks, slight porosity, light earthen deposits, weight 1.410 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 24 Aug 450 - 31 Jan 457; obverse D N MARCIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Marcian's monogram in wreath, wreath tied at the bottom, cross above, CON (Constantinople) in exergue; rare; SOLD


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The cross was rarely used in early Christian iconography, perhaps because it symbolized a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution that most early Christians would have personally witnessed. In 315, Constantine abolished crucifixion as punishment in the Roman Empire. The Ichthys, or fish symbol, was used by early Christians. Constantine adopted the Chi-Rho Christ monogram (Christogram) as his banner (labarum). The use of a cross as the most prevalent symbol of Christianity probably gained momentum after Saint Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, traveled to the Holy Land, c. 326 - 328, and recovered the True Cross.
RL76373. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Constantinopolis 83(c)1, DOCLR 85, LRBC II 2173, SRCV V 20799, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, nice green patina, some marks and small pits, tiny closed flan crack, weight 5.593 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 387 - 392 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVGVSTVS, pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS EXERCITI (courage of the army), emperor standing right, head left, holding standard and globe, foot on captive, cross left, CONSΓ in exergue; large bronze for the period and unusual obverse legend; SOLD


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A facing portrait of Arcadius with the nose fully struck and unworn, such as this one, is very rare.
RL08520. Bronze centenionalis, RIC X Arcadius 97 (S), LRBC II 2797, SRCV V 20807, aEF, irregular flan, weight 2.27 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 401 - 403 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, helmeted, pearl-diademed, and draped bust facing, spear in right hand over right shoulder, shield decorated with cross on left arm; reverse CONCORDIA AVGG (harmony between the two emperors), Constantinopolis enthroned facing, right foot on prow, head right, long scepter vertical in left hand, Victory standing on globe and offering wreath in right hand, ANTΓ in exergue; scarce; SOLD


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In 390, the population of Thessalonica rioted against the presence of a Gothic garrison. In 390, the population of Thessalonica rioted against the presence of a Gothic garrison. The garrison commander was killed. In retaliation, Theodosius ordered the Goths to kill all the spectators in the circus. Theodoret, a witness, reports: "... the anger of the Emperor rose to the highest pitch, and he gratified his vindictive desire for vengeance by unsheathing the sword most unjustly and tyrannically against all, slaying the innocent and guilty alike. It is said seven thousand perished without any forms of law, and without even having judicial sentence passed upon them; but that, like ears of wheat in the time of harvest, they were alike cut down." Theodosius was excommunicated by the bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose for the massacre. Ambrose told Theodosius to imitate David in his repentance as he had imitated him in guilt. Ambrose readmitted the emperor to the Eucharist only after several months of penance.
RL67626. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Thessalonica 61(c), aEF, green patina, weight 2.882 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 315o, 3rd officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 384 - 388 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGGG (valor of the three emperors), Emperor in galley left, holding phoenix and standard, foot on captive, Victory seated steering at stern, Γ left, TES in exergue; scarce; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

DNARCADIVSPFAVG
DNARCAPIVSPFAVG


REFERENCES|

Carson, R., P. Hill & J. Kent. Late Roman Bronze Coinage. (London, 1960).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 8: Nepotian to Romulus Augustus, plus tesserae & cotorniates. (Paris, 1888).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Constantin II à Zenon (337-491). Moneta 5. (Wetteren, 1996).
Grierson, P. & M. Mays. Catalogue of Late Roman Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection. (Washington D.C., 1992).
Hahn, Wolfgang. Moneta Imperii Romani-Byzantinii. (Vienna, 1989).
Kent, J. P. C. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Volume X, The Divided Empire and the Fall of the Western Parts, AD 395 - 491. (London, 1994).
King, C.E. & D.R. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
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).
Paolucci, R. & A. Zub. La monetazione di Aquileia Romana. (Padova, 2000).
Ranieri, E. La monetazione di Ravenna antica dal V all' VIII secolo: impero romano e bizantino, regno ostrogoto e langobardo. (Bologna, 2006).
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 Friday, October 18, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Arcadius