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    Arcadius: Imperial Puppet

    Arcadius, Eastern Roman Emperor (AD 383-408). AV solidus (20mm, 4.39 gm, 6h). Constantinople, AD 395-402. D N ARCADI-VS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, helmeted, and cuirassed bust of Arcadius facing slightly right, holding spear over right shoulder and shield ornamented with horseman riding right / CONCORDI-A AVGG Θ, Constantinopolis seated facing, head right, foot on prow, holding scepter in right hand and Victory on globe in left; CONOB in exergue. RIC X 7. Depeyrot 55/1. Cleanly struck on a round flan. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU 5/5 - 3/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Spink (London, April 1990), lot 244. 

    Born in AD 377 to the able Theodosius I (AD 379-395), Arcadius was proclaimed co-emperor with his father on January 19, AD 383. His education was entrusted to the foremost scholars of the day, but Arcadius proved slow-witted and uninterested in academic or military affairs. In AD 393, his equally dull younger brother Honorius was raised to the rank of co-Augustus. When Theodosius left in AD 394 to put down the usurper Eugenius in Italy, he took Honorius with him and left Arcadius in titular charge of Constantinople. Theodosius never returned, dying in Milan on January 17, AD 395, and suddenly both halves of the Roman Empire were under the nominal rule of two untried youths. Although the fiction of imperial unity was maintained, Arcadius and Honorius were both dominated by powerful military men, Rufinus in the East and Stilicho in the West, whose personal enmity created a cold war atmosphere between the two courts. The conflict only deepened after Stilicho arranged for Rufinus' murder late in AD 395; his replacement, Eutropius, was even more hostile toward the West. While the two regimes squabbled, the Visigoths, who had settled in Thrace, rebelled under their charismatic king Alaric and began ravaging Greece. Arcadius was forced to name Alaric as Master of Soldiers for the Balkans to keep him in check. In AD 399, Arcadius' energetic wife Aelia Eudoxia asserted control over his government and enticed Alaric to attack the poorly defended West, a move that ultimately caused the sack of Rome. Eudoxia gave Arcadius a son in AD 401, but died of a miscarriage in AD 404, placing the regime in the hands of the capable Anthemius. Arcadius' death in AD 408 due to an unknown illness caused barely a ripple at Constantinople, and the Byzantine bureaucracy that had taken root during his listless rule continued to manage affairs under his son, Theodosius II.

    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 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: 4
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