367-75, Valentinian I -
Valentinian I. AD 364-375. AR Light Miliarense (20mm, 3.37 g, 3h). Treveri (Trier) mint. Struck AD 367-375. D N VALENTINI-ANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right / VIRTVS EXERCITVS, Valentinian standing facing, head left, in military dress, holding labarum in right hand and resting shield on ground with left; TRPS•. RIC IX 26a.2; RSC 58b. Ex 2010 Gussage All Saints Hoard
The 662 coins known as the Gussage All Saints Hoard were found on March 21, 2010 on ploughed land in the parish of Gussage All Saints, Dorset in England. The coins had been in circulation together before their deposition in the early 5th Century A.D. Thus, the hoard dates from the period when the Western Roman Empire, beset with the collapse of the Rhine frontier and invasions in Gaul and Italy, relinquished its authority over Roman Britain which was left to it own devices and increasingly vulnerable to Germanic and Irish raiding.
The British Museum purchased one coin. The rest of the coins were returned to the finder and thereafter brought to market in London.
The emperors represented in the hoard , and dating from 324 to 423 A.D., are Constantius II, Julian II, Jovian, Valentinian I, Valens, Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius I, Magnus Maximus, Flavius Victor, Eugenius, Arcadius and Honorius. Almost all the current mints are also represented, though the vast majority of coins were issued at Trier and Milan.
The Late Roman Period was fraught with constant civil wars and barbarian invasions, resulting in economic decline. Silver coins were in short supply in the first half of the 4th Century. But in the Western Roman Empire, there were large issues of silver between c. 340 and 395 A.D., with the siliqua the only standard silver coin in circulation in the Roman Empire. From near contemporary historians we learn that a soldier was paid at the rate of two siliquae a day, around the year 400. The coin types, traditionally agents for imperial propaganda, proclaim stability, pride in military victory and hope for imperial prosperity.
But as the economy worsened, silver became rarer. From coin hoards dating to the second half of the 4th Century found in what were settlements in Roman Britain, clipping of the siliquae has been observed. This phenomenon was likely a deliberate attempt to maintain a stable ratio between silver and gold, and is especially noted in the coins of Arcadius and Honorius. The clipping was carried out from the perspective of the obverse side; that is, care was taken to leave the imperial portrait intact.
The most prominent coin type in the second half of the 4th Century is the siliqua with obverse portrait of the emperor diademed, draped and cuirassed, with a reverse of Roma. She is seated left on a throne, seated left upon a cuirass, or seated facing, holding Victory on globe and scepter or spear, bearing legends VRBS ROMA or VIRTVS ROMANORVM. Roma is a symbol of the eternal city, the emperor’s claim of restoration of Roman tradition and imperial protection.
Another prominent reverse type is the Vota coinage, depicted according to the emperor’s regnal years in multiples of five, within wreath. This type marked the sacred festival of the undertaking and payment of vows for the continuation of the emperor’s prosperous reign. The occasion was marked by the issuance of coin as bonus payments to the army.
A third reverse type is Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm. This type presages not only Victory, but expresses hope for a long reign for the emperor. (Info: Antiqua)
(PAS Ref. DOR-A1CCB1; NC 171 , no. 54). Images courtesy of CNG.