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Valentinianus I

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VALENTINIANVS I. (Flavius), born at Cibalis in Pannonia in A.D. 321, was the son of Gratianus. He was elected Emperor in A.D. 364 after the death of Jovian, and associated with him his brother Valens, assigning to him the Eastern provinces, and keeping for himself the Western, including Western Illyricum and Africa.

In A.D. 367 he further associated his eldest son Gratianus, a lad of eight, as Augustus. The principal trouble of his reign was the insurrection of the Quadi, commencing in A.D. 374, and it was during an interview in A.D. 375 with deputies from this people that he from rage fell down in a fit and suddenly expired.
     He was twice married, (1) to Valeria Severa, by whom he had Gratian; and (2) to Justina, by whom he had Valentinian II and three daughters, Justa, Galla, and Grata, the second of whom was afterwards the wife of Theodosius I.

Remarks on the coins of the three Valentinians with the legend D. N. VALENTINIANVS P. F. AVG.

     The question of the manner of distinguishing the coins of the three Valentinians has already occupied the attention of the present writer (Num. Chron., N.S., 1861, vol. i., p. 112), and of M. Cohen (Med Imp., vol. vi., p. 391), and with a few guiding rules and careful comparison of fabric the student may readily distinguish them.
     Valentinian I, when he commenced to reign, was forty-three years of age, and he died when nearly fifty-five, whilst his son Valentinian II succeeded to the throne at five or six years of age, and died when about twenty. The difficulty, therefore, of comparison between the coins of a man and a boy is consequently considerably lessened. Valentinian I, who, according to Ammianus Marcellinus (xxx., 9) had a corpus lacertosum et validum, is represented on his coins as a stout full-faced man, whilst his son is shown with a young and delicate face.
     The brass coins with helmeted bust, and on the reverse the legend GLORIA ROMANORVM belong to Valentinian II; the gold coins with helmeted bust, and with the legends IMP. XXXXII COS. XVII P. P., SALVS. REIPVBLICAE VOT. XXX MVLT. XXXX, or VICTORIA AVGGG, and in the exergue CONOB, belong to Valentinian III.
     The coins with diademed head and the legend D. N. VALENTINIANVS P. F. AVG., and which have on the reverse in the exergue COMOB or CONOB, belong either to Valentinian II or Valentinian III, and can easily be distinguished by their fabric, which in the case of the coins of Valentinian III is much coarser than that of those of Valentinian II.
All the coins with IVN. (Junior) belong to Valentinian II, and with PLA. (Placidus) to Valentinian III.

Remarks on the explanation of the letters OB, CONOB, COMOB, &c.

     The letters OB first occur in the field on gold coins of Valentinian I and Valens with the legend VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM. Victory seated on a cuirass writing on a shield VOT. V. MVL. X, and in the exergue CONS. (Constantinopoli), and a star. [See woodcut----VALENS.]
     TROB (Treveris 72) and TESOB (Thessalonicae 72) first occur in the exergue of the gold medallions of Valentinian I, as also on those of Valens with the addition of ANOB (Antiochae 72), and ANOB, TESOB, or THCOB and TROB on their gold coins. MDOB (Mediolani 72) first occurs on the gold coins of Gratian.
     CONOB occurs for the first time under Gratianus, Valentinian II, and Theodosius I, and is a distinctive mark of the mint of Constantinople.
     COMOB appears for the first time under Valentinian II and Theodosius I, and is the especial mark of a Western mint. These letters may be interpreted Constantinae Moneta 72. Constantina was the name given to Arelate (Arles) by Constantine I the Great. Its earliest mintmarks, dating from the time of Constantius II, are KONST(UNKNOWN CHARACTER)., KA., KONT., CON. or CONST., and the two last may be distinguished from CON. or CONS. (Constantinople) from the fact that they are always preceded by a Latin letter, whilst the Constantinople mint is always followed by a Greek. The letters COM (Constantinae Moneta) seem to have been introduced late in the reign of Gratian, and are found alone also on the coins of his contemporaries Valentinian II and Theodosius I. It is the mintmark of Gaul and the greater part of the West, and is sometimes accompanied by the letters TR. (Treveris), LD. (Lugduni), AQ. (Aquileiae), and MD. (Mediolani) in the field.  Coins with COM. and COMOB alone belong to Rome.  When COMOB became common to every Western mint, the letters RM. (Rome), SM. (Sirmii), etc. appear in the field.  On a gold coin of Magnus Maximus, who killed Gratin in A.D. 383, we find KONOB (Constantine 72), a form also occurring on a gold coin of Constantinus III, the usurper under Honorius, accompanied by AR. (Arelatae) in the field, as well as the usual form AR. COMOB.  After the death of Theodosius I, and the division of the Empire between his two sons Arcadius and Honorius, the forms COMOB for the Western and CONOB for the Eastern Empire became the adopted exergual mint-marks, the former almost always accompanied by letters in the field; the latter never.  There is little doubt that the M in COMON was substituted from the first for the N in CONOB to resemble the mint-mark of Constantinople, and yet to show a distinctive mark for all Western mints.
     CORMOB on a gold coin of Anthemius.  RM = Roma, and the CO is prefixed and the OB affixed to resemble as nearly as possible COMOB, and yet to designate the actual mint at which the coin was struck.  The usual form is ...


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