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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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RL74060. Silver siliqua, RIC IX Aquileia 27(f)1 or 45(c)1, RSC V 86a, Hunter V 5, SRCV V 19964, gVF, well centered and struck, toned, scratches and scrape, flan crack, weight 1.800 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 225o, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 24 Aug 367 - 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 throne, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, TRPS in exergue; SOLD


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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.
RL57045. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Antioch 42(b), LRBC II 2679, VF, weight 4.719 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) 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, head left, right hand raising kneeling turreted woman, Victory on globe in left hand, ANTA in exergue; attractive Syrian patina; SOLD


Gratian, 24 August 367 - 25 August 383 A.D., Brockage Mint Error

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A brockage mint error occurs when a blank is struck with a previously struck coin which adhered to the opposite die. Click here to read a detailed explanation.
RL56303. Bronze half centenionalis, VF, weight 1.142 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse brockage incuse image of obverse; rare; SOLD


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In England, where many siliquae are found clipped, silver Roman coins apparently continued to circulate long after the Empire abandoned the island. Clipping may not have been primarily intended to deviously obtain a little silver. Clipping may have actually been performed primarily to make the weight and value equivalent to contemporary coins in the medieval period.
RL84419. Silver siliqua, SRCV V 19966 ff. (various mints), RSC V 87 (same), aVF, clipped, weight 0.946 g, maximum diameter 12.6 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (mintmark off flan) mint, c. 375 - 379 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, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, reversed spear behind in left; SOLD


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In 380, Rome's enemies the Germans, Sarmatians and Huns were taken into Imperial service; barbarian leaders began to play an increasingly active role in the Roman Empire.
RL57005. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Antioch 40(a)1, LRBC II 2712, SRCV V 2000, Cohen VIII 25, VF, weight 4.465 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 378 - 383 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, helmeted, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right holding spear and shield; reverse GLORIA ROMANORVM (glory of the Romans), Emperor standing facing in galley, head right, raising right hand, cloak flying behind, Victory seated steering at stern, wreath left, ANTB in exergue; scarce; SOLD


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In England, where many siliquae are found clipped, silver Roman coins apparently continued to circulate long after the Empire abandoned the island. Clipping may not have been primarily intended to deviously obtain a little silver. Clipping may have actually been performed primarily to make the weight and value equivalent to contemporary coins in the medieval period.
RS84415. Silver siliqua, SRCV V 19966 ff. (various mints), RSC V 87 (same), VF, toned, clipped, weight 1.163 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (mintmark off flan) mint, c. 375 - 379 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, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, reversed spear behind in left; SOLD


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

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A larger bronze denomination for the period.
RL56319. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Siscia 26(a), gVF, weight 4.413 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 180o, 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, head left, right hand raising kneeling turreted woman, Victory on globe in left hand, BSISC in exergue; SOLD


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They look similar, but there is a significant physical difference between angels and Victory. Angels are all male. Victory (Nike) is female. On Byzantine coinage, the male angel replaced the female Victory after the reunion with Rome was concluded on 28 March 519 A.D.
RL73832. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Rome 24(c)xvi (S), LRBC II 726, SRCV V 20106, Cohen VIII 34, VF, well centered, green patina, mild porosity, light marks, weight 2.334 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 24 Aug 367 - 17 Nov 375 A.D.; obverse D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed draped and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVBLICAE (security of the Republic), Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, SM leaf RQ in exergue; SOLD


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Gratian, influenced by his chief advisor, Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, ended a period of widespread, if unofficial, religious tolerance that had existed since the time of Julian. In 382, Gratian confiscated the possessions of the priestly colleges, pagan temples and shrines, and took their revenues as property of the royal treasury. In addition to taking their income, he forbade legacies of real property to priest and Vestil Virgins, and abolished their remaining privileges and immunities. He again removed of the Altar of Victory from the Senate House in Rome. Pagan Senators appealed to him to reverse his decisions and reminded him that he was still the Pontifex Maximus and it was his duty to see that the ancestral pagan rites were properly performed. Gratian refused an audience to the pagan Senators and renounced the title, office, and insignia of the Pontifex Maximus. Regardless, Gratian was still deified after his death.
RL87984. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Rome 43(a)2, LRBC II 750, SRCV V 20006, Cohen VIII 30, Hunter V 31 var. (3rd officina), aVF, nice desert patina, well centered, edge crack, some marks and scratches, scattered small spots of light porosity, weight 4.793 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome 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, head left, right hand raising kneeling turreted woman, Victory on globe offering wreath in his left hand, SMRB in exergue; ex Jose Manuel Serrano, Seville, Spain (2002); SOLD


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RL06946. Bronze maiorina, RIC IX Thessalonica 37(a)3, aEF, weight 5.19 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) 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 half left, raising kneeling turreted woman with right hand and holding Victory on globe in left hand, Γ in right field, SMTES in exergue; from the Scott Collection; 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 Thursday, December 5, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Gratian