ROMAN EMPIRE Valens 364-378 AD centenionalis


ROMAN EMPIRE, Valens, 364-378 AD, centenionalis, no date (367-75 AD), Siscia mint, officina 3, Obverse: diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust L, D N VALENS P F AVG, Reverse: Victory advancing L, SECVRITAS REI PVBLICAE, ΓSIS, F in left field, M in right field, bronze, 17.5mm, 2.29g, SR19835, VF+

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Valens was appointed co-Emperor in the East by his brother, Valentinian I. He defeated the rebel Procopius, who had courted the Visigoths, who got tired of him and switched over to Valens. Valens turned around and ravaged them for initially picking the wrong side. Then Valentinian died in the West and was succeeded by his teenaged son, Gratian. Then the Huns drove the Visigoths out of their lands and they became refugees in the Roman Balkans. The Romans treated them badly, they rose up, there was a big battle, the Romans lost, Valens died in the fight.

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.