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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, 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.
RL91865. Bronze maiorina, cf. SRCV V 20002, Cohen VIII 30, VF, dark patina with earthen highlighting, tight flan cutting off half of each legend, some porosity, edge crack, weight 3.696 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, 24 August 367 - 25 August 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, [...] in exergue; $38.00 (33.44)


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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 Wednesday, November 20, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Gratian