DescriptionWEST ROMAN EMPIRE. Valentinian III (AD 425-455). AV solidus (421mm, 4.53 gm, 6h). Constantinople, AD 426. D N VALENTIN-IANVS P F AVG, diademed, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Valentinian facing 3/4 right, holding shield on left arm and spear over right shoulder / SALVS REI-PVBLICAE, Theodosius II (on left) and Valentinian enthroned facing, nimbate, each holding akakia, officina S, CONOB in exergue. RIC 242. DO 838. Rare! Choice Mint State.
This rare early solidus of Valentinian III was struck in Constantinople shortly after he was installed, at the tender age of six, on the throne of the West Roman Empire. Its design falls into the proto-Byzantine coinage of Constantinople, which preferred frontal-style portraiture, versus the profile portraits favored in the crumbling West. Valentinian's installation had come at the behest of his cousin Theodosius II, emperor of the East, who had dispatched the lad and his mother, the formidable Galla Placidia, at the head of a military task force to unseat the usurper Johannes, who had held the throne of the West since the death of Honorius in AD 423. Valentinian would go on to "reign" for 30 years, although he was little more than a figurehead ruler as a series of powerful generals strove mightily, but in vain, against the slow disintegration of the West Roman Empire.
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