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    Valens: Catastrophic Defeat

    Valens (AD 364-378). AV solidus (22mm, 4.42 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, AD 364-367. D N VALENS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Valens right, bust seen from front / RESTITVTOR REIPVBLICAE, Valens standing facing in military dress, head right, holding in right hand vexillum emblazoned with cross, and in left Victory on globe, CONS (wreath) in exergue. RIC IX 3(d)2. Cohen 32. Depeyrot 20/2. Deeply struck from fresh dies, with a well-modeled portrait. A few very light scratches. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU? 5/5 - 4/5.

    Private purchase from Spink, February 1988. 

    Born around AD 328, Flavius Julius Valens followed his brother, Valentinian, into the imperial Household Guard, but did not take well to soldiering and opted instead for a bureaucratic career. In February of AD 364, his life took an unexpected turn when Valentinian was proclaimed emperor. Valentinian quickly decided the empire was too unwieldy for one man to rule and elevated Valens to the rank of joint emperor on March 28, AD 364, with Valentinian taking the more seriously threatened West while Valens ruled the seemingly stable East. Valens had a sullen, suspicious disposition, however, and his persecution of other imperial candidates brought about the rebelion of Procopius in AD 365-366, which was only put down with great difficulty. Seeking military glory, Valens invaded Visigothic territory in AD 367 and 369 and fought the Persians to a standstill in AD 376. In that same year, the Huns poured into eastern Europe and started a chain reaction that would shake the Empire to its foundations. Hard pressed by the Huns, the Goths petitioned Valens for entry and settlement within Roman territory. Seeing the hardy Goths as an answer to his military recruitment problems, Valens agreed, but the orderly migration quickly got out of control and greedy Roman merchants and bureaucrats began exploiting the immigrants, forcing them into open revolt. Under the leadership of their chieftain Fritigern, the Goths ravaged the Balkans and defeated the small Roman forces sent against them. Gathering a substantial field army, Valens moved to meet the Gothic host near Adrianople, Thrace, in AD 378. His unduly hasty attack, utilizing atrocious tactics, led to the most catastrophic Roman defeat since Cannae 600 years earlier. Valens died in the fighting and his body was never identified among the more than 30,000 Roman corpses littering the battlefield.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection

    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: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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