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    Theodosius II: Long Reigning Nonentity

    Theodosius II, Eastern Roman Emperor (AD 402-450). AV solidus (21mm, 4.49 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, AD 408-420. D N THEODO - SIVS P F AVG, helmeted, diademed and cuirassed facing bust of Theodosius, head turned slightly right, holding spear over right shoulder and shield with horseman motif on left arm / CONCORDIA AVGG Δ, Constantinopolis enthroned facing, left foot on prow, head turned right, holding scepter in right hand and Victory on globe in left, star in left field, CONOB in exergue. RIC X 202. Depeyrot 73/2. Hahn 12B. Outstanding strike, with full, blazing mint luster. NGC (photo-certificate) MS? 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Private purchase from Spink & Sons, March 1985. 

    Despite having the longest reign of any Roman Emperor, Theodosius II left scarcely a mark on his era. Flavius Theodosius was born at Constantinople in AD 401, during the reign of his father Arcadius, who proclaimed him co-Augustus nine months later. Arcadius died of a sudden illness in AD 408, leaving the East Roman Empire in the care of a seven-year-old boy. Fortunately, Theodosius was ably served by subordinates and relatives, mainly his elder sister Pulcheria, who like many Theodosian women was much stronger than the men in her family. The East Roman Army was also well led, keeping the barbarians at bay and defeating the Persians in AD 421. As he came of age, Theodosius began to assume more control over imperial affairs. In AD 423, the Western emperor Honorius died and a usurper named Johannes gained control of Rome. Theodosius sent a military task force to depose Johannes and install his young cousin Valentinian III, under the regency of his powerful aunt Galla Placidia. This was accomplished in AD 425, and for many years the East and West Roman Empires enjoyed good relations. But a new threat soon emerged in the form of the Huns under the infamous Attila, who began ravaging the outlaying provinces of the Eastern empire in the mid 430s. Theodosius was forced to buy peace through humiliating concessions and the payment of more than 50,000 gold solidi annually.  A gentle and scholarly man, Theodosius lacked the martial fortitude to lead his armies against Attila, although buying him off was perhaps the better option. However, Theodosius did order construction of a massive circuit of walls around Constantinople which enabled it to remain unconquered for nearly a millennium thereafter. After a reign of 48 years, Theodosius died of injuries suffered in a fall from his horse.

    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: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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