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    Constantine III: Valor and Treachery

    Constantine III, Western Roman Emperor  (AD 407-411). AV solidus (21mm, 4.44 gm, 6h).  Lugdunum, AD 407-408. D N CONSTAN-TINVS P F AVG, rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Constantine right, bust seen from front / VICTORIA  AAAVGGGG L - D, Constantine standing right in military dress, holding vexillum emblazoned with X in right hand and Victory on globe in left, left foot on captive prostrate on ground left, COMOB in exergue. RIC X 1505. DOCLR 745. Depeyrot 22/3. Very rare! NGC (photo-certificate) Choice VF 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Neil S. Phillips Collection (Spink London, 7-9 October 1997), lot 419; Charles Oman Collection (Christie's London, 12 November 1968), lot 344. 

    While the early fifth century AD saw the West Roman frontier collapse under waves of barbarian invaders, the island province of Britain remained relatively unscathed. The Roman legions in Britain watched in horror as Germanic hordes ravaged Germany, Gaul and Spain, while the feeble emperor Honorius did little more than play with his pet chickens. Accordingly, the British legions took matters into their own hands and raised up Flavius Claudius Constantinus, known to history as Constantine III, in the spring of AD 407. Although only a common soldier, he appears to have had some charisma and no little ability. Crossing the channel with a small army, he fought his way across Gaul against both barbarian invaders and Roman forces sent by Honorius to crush him before setting up court in Arles in May of AD 408. Spain, too, offered him recognition. Flush with success, Constantine made his son Constans co-emperor. He wrote letters to Honorius in AD 409 offering a pact of mutual support. Honorius responded favorably, sending Constantine a purple Imperial robe. But at the peak of his success, Constantine's closest backer, the general Gerontius, revolted and made common cause with the Visigoths, costing him all of his hard-won territory in Spain. Early in AD 411, Constans was captured and killed by Gerontius, who next besieged Constantine at Arles. An army sent by Honorius soon appeared on the scene, but instead of rescuing Constantine, it renewed the siege and demanded his surrender. Cornered, Constantine attempted to take vows for the priesthood, but the gesture proved futile and he was captured and executed on the orders of Honorius.

    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: 7
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