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    Pulcheria: Power Behind Throne

    Aelia Pulcheria, sister of Theodosius II, wife of Marcian (Augusta, AD 414-453). AV solidus (22mm, 4.43 gm, 12h).  Constantinople, AD 423-429. AEL PVLCH-ERIA AVG, pearl-diademed and draped bust of Pulcheria right, wearing necklace and earring, crowned by hand of God reaching down from above with wreath / VOT XX MVLT XXX I, Victory standing left, holding long jeweled cross, star in upper left field, CONOB in exergue. RIC X 226. Depeyrot 75/3. Very rare. An attractive piece, struck on a broad flan, with much residual luster. Tiny graffito X on neck. NGC (photo-certificate) AU 5/5 - 3/5, light graffito.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Triton IX (5 December 2000), lot 741.

    Aelia Pulcheria, the daughter, sister and wife to three different East Roman emperors, played a critical role in maintaining the stability of the East Roman regime in the tumultuous early to mid fifth century AD. Born circa AD 398 to Arcadius and Aelia Eudoxia, she had a far more dominating personality than her timid younger brother, Theodosius II. When Arcadius died in AD 408 and Theodosius ascended the throne at the age of seven, Pulcheria took upon herself the role of her brother's protector. In AD 414 she came of age and the Senate declared her Augusta, or Empress, whereupon she took over the regency herself. She declared her intent to remain a virgin (possibly to avoid a political marriage), and took her brother's education into her own hands,  seeing to it he learned how to look, act, and perform rituals like an Emperor; however he lacked backbone, which she had to provide to keep the Theodosian regime in undisputed power. Under her guidance the East Roman Empire successfully intervened in the West and installed her nephew, Valentinian III, on the throne (AD 424-425), while to the East, a brief war against Persia was successfully prosecuted (AD 421). When Theodosius was killed in a riding accident in AD 450, Pulcheria briefly ruled as sole empress before bowing to demands that she marry and thus chose a suitable man to rule as Augustus. She wisely chose the lowborn but capable Marcian, who proved to be the strong, even-handed ruler the Empire needed. Pulcheria died in AD 453, having kept her vows of virginity and defense of her Imperial dynasty for a half-century. 

    All Roman gold coins from the Dimitriadis Collection have been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. These may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please e-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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