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

Gratian, 24 August 367 - 25 August 383 A.D.

Gratian, son of Valentinian I, became the sole ruler of the Western empire in 375 A.D., and after the catastrophic defeat of the Roman forces at Hadrianopolis, the Eastern empire also came under his rule. To better cope with the empire, he elevated general Theodosius to the Eastern throne. Because of a shortage of coinage to meet the payroll, Gratian was abandoned by his troops during the revolt of Magnus Maximus. He was overtaken and killed while fleeing to the Alps.


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Gratian prohibited Pagan worship at Rome; refused to wear the insignia of the pontifex maximus as unbefitting a Christian; removed the Altar of Victory from the Senate House at Rome, despite protests of the pagan members of the Senate, and confiscated its revenues; forbade legacies of real property to the Vestals; and abolished other privileges belonging to them and to the pontiffs. Nevertheless he was still deified after his death.
RL91656. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 14(c)xxvii, LRBC II 1369, SRCV V 20065, Cohen VIII 23, Hunter V -, VF, well centered, scrapes and scratches, minor encrustations, weight 2.828 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), emperor forcing barbarian to kneel, labarum (Chi-Rho standard) in left, Q left, * / K right, ∆SISCE in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $24.00 (21.12)


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In 367, in the Great Conspiracy, the Roman garrison on Hadrian's Wall revolted and allowed Picts from Caledonia to devastate Britain. Simultaneously Attacotti, the Scotti from Hibernia (Ireland), and the Saxons from Germania invaded the island's mid-western and south-eastern borders. They sacked the cities and murdered, raped and enslaved Romano-British civilians and in 368 plundered Londinium. In 368, General Theodosius arrived in Britannia with a relief force to deal with the invaders. In Winter 368, the barbarians were driven back to their homelands, the Hadrian's Wall was retaken. Theodosius reorganized the abandoned forts and mounted punitive expeditions in Hibernia (Ireland). By 369, Theodosius had fully recovered Britain for the empire.
RL88632. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 14(c)xxxiii, LRBC II 1392, SRCV V 20065, Cohen VIII 23, Hunter V -, F, tight flan, a little rough, weight 2.224 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 210o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), emperor advancing left holding labarum (chi-rho Christogram standard) in left and dragging captive, F left, A over R with hook right, ∆SISCE in exergue; $16.00 (14.08)


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The labarum, was a type of Roman cavalry standard, a vexillum with a military ensign marked with the Christogram (Greek monogram of Christ). It was an object of religious veneration among the soldiers, who paid it divine honors.
RL88688. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 14(c)xiii, LRBC II 1316, SRCV V 20065, Cohen VIII 23, Hunter V -, F, full legends, encrustation, a bit rough, weight 2.798 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 372 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Emperor forcing barbarian to kneel, holding labarum (Chi-Rho standard), S left, D right, ΓSISC in exergue; $16.00 (14.08)


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The labarum, was a type of Roman cavalry standard, a vexillum with a military ensign marked with the Christogram (Greek monogram of Christ). It was an object of religious veneration among the soldiers, who paid it divine honors.
RL88721. Bronze centenionalis, cf. RIC IX Thessalonica 26(c)xxxv (S), SRCV V 20072, Cohen VIII 23, F, green patina, tight flan, scratches, encrustation, weight 2.334 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Emperor forcing barbarian captive to kneel with right, labarum (Chi-Rho standard) in left, Z in left field, [star over A?] right, TES in exergue; scarce; $14.00 (12.32)


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The divided obverse legend was employed upon Valentinian's death and Gratian ascension to the rank of senior emperor. The old Gloria and Securitas types were discontinued shortly after.
RL88747. Bronze centenionalis, cf. SRCV V 20069, Cohen VIII 23, F, green patina, scratches, earthen deposits, edge flaw and cracks, weight 2.319 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, 367 - 375 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Emperor forcing barbarian to kneel, holding labarum (Chi-Rho standard), star left, star over Γ right, [...] in exergue; $10.00 (8.80)


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Gratian prohibited Pagan worship at Rome; refused to wear the insignia of the pontifex maximus as unbefitting a Christian; removed the Altar of Victory from the Senate House at Rome, despite protests of the pagan members of the Senate, and confiscated its revenues; forbade legacies of real property to the Vestals; and abolished other privileges belonging to them and to the pontiffs. Nevertheless he was still deified after his death.
RL88627. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Siscia 26(a)8, LRBC II 1531, SRCV V 2008, Cohen VIII 30, Hunter V -, F, rough, encrustations, ragged edge, weight 3.655 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 30o, 2nd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 9 Aug 378 - 25 Aug 383 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse REPARATIO REIPVB, Emperor standing facing in military dress, holding Victory on globe in left and raising kneeling radiate female with right, *BSISC in exergue; $.99 (.87)


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Gratian was the son of Valentinian I by Marina Severa, and was born at Sirmium (now Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) in Pannonia. He was named after his grandfather Gratian the Elder. Gratian was first married to Flavia Maxima Constantia, daughter of Constantius II. His second wife was Laeta. Both marriages remained childless. His stepmother was Empress Justina and his paternal half siblings were Valentinian II, Galla and Justa.
SH46445. Gold solidus, RIC IX Constantinopolis 24 (R2); Depeyrot, p. 236, 21/3; SRCV V 19899, Cohen VIII 28, Choice gF, full circles centering on a nice round flan, light obverse graffiti, reverse mark, weight 4.273 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PRINCIPIVM IVVENTVTIS, Gratian standing half-right, nimbate, wearing military dress, spear transverse in right hand, globe in left hand, *CONS followed by wreath in exergue; rare; SOLD


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After Valentinian died on 17 November 375, the troops in Pannonia proclaimed his infant son (by a second wife Justina) emperor under the title of Valentinian II. Gratian acquiesced in their choice; reserving for himself the administration of the Gallic provinces, he handed over Italy, Illyricum and Africa to Valentinian and his mother, who fixed their residence at Mediolanum. The division, however, was merely nominal, and the real authority remained in the hands of Gratian.
RL34995. Silver siliqua, RIC IX Aquileia 15(b)3, RSC V 87f, SRCV V 19968, Choice aEF, toned, bold, near perfectly centering, weight 2.298 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Aquileia mint, 17 Nov 375 - 9 Aug 378 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VRBS ROMA (City of Rome), Roma seated left on cuirass, helmeted, draped, Victory offering wreath on globe in right hand, reversed spear behind in left, star right, AQPS in exergue; SOLD







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

DNGRATIANVSAVG
DNGRATIANVSAVGGAVG
DNGRATIANVSPFAVG


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, September 21, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Gratian