Numismatik Naumann

Auction 141  –  2 June 2024

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Numismatik Naumann, Auction 141

Ancient and World Coins

Su, 02.06.2024, from 5:00 PM CEST
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Shortly before each lot is auctioned


VALENS (364-378). GOLD Solidus. Nicomedia.

Pearl-diademed bust left, wearing consular robe, holding mappa in right hand and sceptre in left.
Valentinian I and Valens enthroned facing, each nimbate and wearing consular robes, holding mappa and sceptre; in exergue, two bound captives vis-à-vis.

RIC 16b.5; Depeyrot 22/2.

Very rare. Flavius Julius Valens was the younger brother of Valentinian I. After serving as protector domesticus (personal guard) of Julian II and Jovian, he immediately became emperor of the East in 364 thanks to his brother who was already Augustus of the West, although the two differed in faith. Valens in fact was an Arian, while Valentinian was a Nicene Christian. The first problem was presented by the usurper Procopius, comes of Antioch, who proclaimed himself Augustus of the East in 365. Valens defeated him, sentenced him to death and struck with damnatio memoriae. He later faced the Visigoths and a second conspiracy, hatched by Theodore of Antioch. In 374 Valens celebrated the decennalia and became Maximus Augustus in 375 on the death of his brother, after which he organized an expedition against the Persians that proved unsuccessful, forcing him to sign an unfavorable peace. Another problem was the confluence of Ostrogoths and Visigoths into Roman territory across the Danube because of the advance of the Huns. The Romans were forced to accept them, but this integration was not easy; the Visigoths felt oppressed and exploited as a labor-power, resulting in an insurrection. Valens, considered a general of little ability by his contemporaries, was thus induced to recruit Goth mercenaries, with the risk that they would end up allied with his enemies. In fact, a large contingent of Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Huns, and Alamanni joined forces to fight the Romans and achieved a decisive victory at Hadrianopolis (Thrace) in 378. The tremendous defeat was caused by Gratian, who was meanwhile on the Western throne and did not arrive in time with his troops. Valens died in the battle but the Goths failed to conquer Constantinople. According to Ambrose, bishop of Mediolanum, the defeat at Hadrianopolis heralded the fall of the empire and the end of the world.

Condition: Extremely fine; smoothed fields.

Weight: 4.65 g.
Diameter: 22 mm.

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Current bid 2'600 EUR 8 bids
Starting price 1'600 EUR
Estimate 2'000 EUR
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