ROMAN EMPIRE Gratian 367-383 AD maiorina


ROMAN EMPIRE, Gratian, 367-383 AD, maiorina, no date (367-75 AD), Constantinople mint, officina 2, Obverse: diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust L, D N GRATIANVS P F AVG, Reverse: Emperor and Victory in galley L, wreath in left field, GLORIA ROMANORVM, CONB, bronze, 23mm, 3.75g, RIC 52a, F

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Gratian was the son of Valentinian I, raised to co-Emperor in the East before the death of his father. He became sole Emperor in the West at the age of sixteen. Forced to accept Valentinian II as co-Emperor, he campaigned in Germany and Britain. When Valens died Gratian appointed Theodosius I to be Emperor in the East. The commander in Britain, Magnus Maximus, got himself acclaimed by his troops, and invaded Gaul. Gratian went to confront him, lost the battle, fled, was captured and killed.

In the Imperial Period Roman coinage became an engine for governmental propaganda. All of the themes of the coins are celebratory of some aspect of govermental authority or achievement.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.