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    Galla Placidia, True Imperial Heir

    Galla Placidia, wife of Constantius III, mother of Valentinian III (Augusta, AD 421-450). AV solidus (21mm, 4.38 gm, 7h). Ravenna, ca. AD 426-430. D N GALLA PLA-CIDIA P F AVG, pearl-diademed and draped bust of Galla Placidia right, wearing necklace and being crowned by Manus Dei above; chi-rho on shoulder / VOT XX MVLT XXX, Victory standing left, supporting long jeweled cross; in upper field, star; R-V across field, COMOB in exergue. RIC 2012. Depeyrot 13/2. Very rare. NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The Lexington Collection of Jonathan K. Kern. Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 40 (16 May 2007), lot 888.

    The daughter of Theodosius I the Great, Galla Placidia was born in AD 392 and proved to be a much more formidable character than her weakling brothers, Honorius and Arcadius.  As such she could be viewed as the true heir to Theodosius and the backbone that held a crumbling Empire together for the better part of a century. Following the siege of Rome in 408-410, she was captured and held hostage by Visigoths. Whether by coercion or choice, she wed Atualf, son and successor of King Alaric. Perhaps she hoped the wedding would spur a modus vivendi between Roman and Barbarian, but if so her hopes were dashed by the murder of Ataulf in AD 416. A swap of hostages returned her to the Western Roman court. In AD 417, Honorius married her off to the great general Constantius III, later briefly co-Emperor of the West. Although the union was not a happy one, it did produce a son and daughter. After the death of Constantius in AD 421, Honorius began to show a strange, incestuous attraction to his sister and she fled to the East Roman court of Theodosius II. When Honorius died in AD 423 and the Western throne was usurped by Johannes, Placidia returned with a sizeable army to depose the usurper in favor of her five-year-old son, who was duly installed as Valentinian III. She remained in Italy, ruling the Western Empire as regent until her son came of age, and played a major role in political and religious affairs until her death in AD 450. Her mausoleum in Ravenna is a masterpiece of early Medieval architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 


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    Auction Dates
    August, 2014
    8th Friday
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