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    Jovian: Brief Interlude

    Jovian (AD 363-364). AV solidus (22mm, 4.36 gm, 12h).  Constantinople, June AD 363-February AD 364. D N IOVIANVS PF PERP AVG, rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Jovian right, bust seen from front / SECVRITAS REI-PVBLICAE, Roma, enthroned facing, and Constantinopolis, enthroned left, foot on prow, supporting between them a wreath surrounding VOT/V/MVLT/X, CONSP in exergue. RIC VIII 170 (R2). Cohen 10. Depeyrot 9/2. Very rare, only the third Constantinople-mint solidus of Jovian to have been offered since 2000. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Neil S. Phillips Collection (Spink London, 7-9 October 1997), lot 400. 

    Flavius Jovianus was born in AD 331 in Singidunum, present-day Belgrade in Serbia. Strong, handsome, but not terribly bright, Jovian found life in an elite military unit much to his liking. A later story that Julian dismissed him for refusing to abandon Christianity seems to be post-accession propaganda, since by AD 363 he was placed in command of the Guard and accompanied the emperor on his ill-fated invasion of Persia. The Roman force was soon trapped without supplies deep in Persian territory, and on June 26 Julian died in battle. The following day, the leadership of the Roman army met to select a new emperor, but found itself deeply split between eastern and western factions supporting rival candidates. The Household Guard put Jovian forth as a compromise choice, and the general soldiery duly acclaimed him emperor. He wasted little time in signing a humiliating peace treaty with the Persian King, Shapur, which handed over most of Roman Mesopotamia and several key cities, including the strongholds of Nisibis and Singara. The historian Ammianus asserts Jovian acted too hastily in caving to Persian demands even though the Romans had won every major engagement in the war. Returning to Antioch, Jovian tried to paint the debacle as a Roman victory, but few were fooled. At first he trod carefully in matters of religion and issued a call for universal toleration, but did little to stop the inevitable Christian backlash against pagans who had prospered under Julian. His coins clearly indicate Christianity's return to official favor. After a brief stay in Antioch, Jovian set out for Constantinople early in AD 364, stopping at Dadastana in Bithynia for a banquet and overnight stay. The following morning, February 17, he was found dead in his bedroom, apparently the victim of poisonous fumes from a smoking brazier or fresh plaster. Ammianus hints at foul play, but after only eight months of rule he had yet to make many enemies his untimely death was most likely accidental. 

    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: 5
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