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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 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.RL86910. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC IX 86(c), LRBC II 2185, DOCLR 92 ff., SRCV V 20847, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, VF, tight flan, reverselegend not fully struck, weight 0.681 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 0o, Constantinople mint, 28 Aug 388 - 15 May 392 A.D.; obverse D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseSALVS REIPVBLICAE (health of the Republic), Victory walking left holding trophy over right shoulder, dragging captive with left, staurogram left, CONS[...] in exergue; $24.00 (€20.40)
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.SH37579. Gold solidus, RIC XArcadius 7 (S), Depeyrot 55/1, SRCV V 20706, DOCLR 207- 217 var. (none from 4th officina), Hunter V 33 - 34 var. (same), VF, scratch in obversefield, weight 4.402 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 397 - 402 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; reverseCONCORDIA AVGG ∆ (harmony between the two emperors, 4th officina), Constantinopolis enthroned facing, long scepter in right hand, Victory on globe offering wreath in left hand, right leg bare, right foot on prow, CONOB in exergue; ex CNG 173, Lot: 524 (sold for $957 plus fees); ex Alain Lagrange Collection; scarce; SOLD
The unusual reverselegend, dedicating the coin to "the new hope of the Republic," would seem better suited to the newly crowned Theodosius. But the legend is unique to Arcadius. How could Arcadius be the "new hope" after he had already ruled for twenty years?SH90888. Gold solidus, RIC XArcadius 22 (R3), Depeyrot 54/2 (22 specimens), DOCLR 237 var. (seated on cuirass only), SRCV V 20712, VF, bumps and scrapes, weight 4.392 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 402 - 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 NOVA SPES REIPVBLICAE (new hope of the Republic), Victory seated right on cuirass and shield, inscribing XX / XXX on shield resting on her left knee, CONOB in exergue; ex HD Rauch, e-auction 14, part of lot 595; very rare; SOLD
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