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    Galla Placidia: Formidable Empress

    Galla Placidia, wife of Constantius III, mother of Valentinian III (Augusta, AD 421-450). AV solidus (22mm, 4.48 gm, 12h).  Rome, AD 421. D N GALLA PLA-CIDIA P F AVG, pearl-diademed and draped bust of Placidia right, wearing necklace and pendant earrings, chi-rho on right shoulder, hand of God reaching down from above with wreath to crown her / VOT XX ? MVLT XXX, Victory standing left holding long jeweled cross in right hand, R - M in fields, COMOB in exergue. RIC X, 2007. Depeyrot 45/2. Very rare! NGC (photo-certificate) AU 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Stack's (New York, 12 January 2009), lot 3026; Leu 72 (12 May 1998), lot 585.

    The daughter of Theodosius I, Galla Placidia was born in AD 392 and proved to be a much more formidable character than her weakling brothers, Honorius and Arcadius. She would need such fortitude for, following the siege of Rome in 408-410, she was captured and held hostage by Visigoths. Whether by coercion or choice, she soon 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, and in AD 417 Honorius married her off to the elderly 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. 

    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
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