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    Theodosius I: Prelude to Medieval Era

    Theodosius I the Great (AD 379-395). AV solidus (21mm, 4.46 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, AD 379-383. D N THEODO-SIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Theodosius right, bust seen from front / CONCOR-DIA AVGGG•, Constantinopolis enthroned facing, holding scepter in right hand and globe in left, CONOB in exergue. RIC IX --, cf. 43(b) (no letter or symbol after AVGGG) and 45(c) (with officina letter instead of • after AVGGG). Cohen 8 (same). Depeyrot --. Cf. Cohen 8 (same). Durr-Bastien 93-98. With a nicely detailed bust and attractive light toning in fields. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Spink (London, 10 October 1990), lot 199; ex Christie's sale of Antiquities (London, 19 October 1970), lot 191. 

    Theodosius I "The Great" was the last man to rule the entire Roman Empire and a formative figure for the medieval era. Born in Cauca, Spain in AD 346, his father, Theodosius the Elder, was a powerful general in the Roman army under the emperor Valentinian I (AD 364-375). The younger Theodosius entered the army as a young man and served under his father during the critical British campaign of AD 367-368. He won rapid advancement and was made governor of Moesia in AD 375, but a period of disgrace followed the execution of his father for high treason in AD 376. Theodosius retired to his Spanish estates, but the disastrous battle of Adrianople in AD 378, in which the Goths smashed the Roman field army and killed the East Roman Emperor Valens, brought about his recall. Gratian, emperor of the West, appointed Theodosius as co-Augustus in January of 379, tasking him with restoring the shattered East Roman army and quelling the Gothic revolt. Years of arduous campaigning forced the Goths into relative submission in AD 382, but the peace treaty settled them in Thrace and allowed them a great deal of autonomy. In January of AD 383, Theodosius proclaimed his six-year-old son Arcadius as co-emperor, but in the same year Gratian was slain and replaced by the usurper Magnus Maximus. Civil war broke out in AD 388, when Maximus invaded Italy and Theodosius moved west to meet and defeat him. Theodosius remained in Italy for three more years to settle affairs and returned to Constantinople in AD 391, but the usurpation of Eugenius brought about another destructive civil war in AD 394. Again, Theodosius won the day, and remained supreme over both halves of the Empire until his premature death in January of AD 395. His incompetent sons Arcadius and Honorius succeeded him, setting the stage for Rome's rapid decline and fall. A zealous Catholic, Theodosius had issued numerous edicts against paganism that effectively made Christianity the empire's state religion, leading later church authorities to hail him as "the Great."

    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: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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