Gratian was the son of the emperor Valentinian I and in A.D. 367 was made Augustus at only seven years old. His father died in A.D. 375 and his uncle Valens in A.D. 378 leaving him sole ruler of the whole Roman Empire at 19! Realising he could not rule alone Gratian promoted the successful general Theodosius to Augustus in the East. They fought off multiple barbarian invasions until in A.D. 383 Magnus Maximus, the commander in Britain, thought he could do better and rebelled. The unfortunate Gratian was deserted by his troops and murdered at Lugdunum (Lyon), just 24 years old. Gratian had a turbulent reign of constant border warfare and was a fervent Christian, famously removing the ancient Altar of Victory from the Senate in Rome! The coins of Gratian are a bit harder to fi nd than those of his father and uncle, likely from the instability at the time. We can off er bronze coins of Gratian in Very Fine and Fine condition with various reverses.
Born about A.D. 328 Valens was the younger brother of the emperor Valentinian I. Trusted with the rule of the eastern provinces of the Empire, he spent much of his reign campaigning against the Goths and the Persians. In A.D. 376 Valens allowed the Gothic tribes to cross the Danube frontier and settle in Roman territory. But as a result of terrible treatment from the Roman Administrators (against Valen’s express orders), the Goths rebelled. Valens attacked prematurely, rushing into ‘The Battle of Adrianople’ unorganised. He was killed and his army almost wiped out! This loss meant the end of the traditional Roman Empire had begun. Valens was not gifted in war but cared for the general populace, relaxing taxes for the poor and living moderately. We offer his bronze coins showing his bust on the obverse and the emperor dragging a barbarian captive on the reverse. The reverse legend ‘GLORIA ROMANORVM’ refers to Valens as ‘The Glory of the Romans’ against the barbarians. Sadly, for him and his army, it appears the barbarians had the glory. These grade Very Fine, for the Glory of the Romans!
The father of Valentinian I was a Pannonian rope maker who had risen through the ranks of the army to hold high office in both Africa and Britain. Valentinian did the same, like father like son! When Jovian died mysteriously in A.D. 364 Valentinian was chosen as emperor by a group of officers. He was 42 years old and almost illiterate but, importantly was a devout Christian and superb military leader. He chose his younger brother Valens as co-emperor in the East, ruling the western empire from his capital at Milan, without ever visiting Rome! Both emperors spent most of the next decade defending the long frontiers of the empire. In A.D. 375 while meeting a deputation of the Quadi tribe he became so enraged by their arrogance that he suffered a seizure and dropped dead! Valentinian I worked hard to protect the empire, showed greater religious tolerance, and was frugal. We offer bronze coins of Valentinian I showing his bust on the obverse and Victory on the reverse. This is around the time Victory is started to be quietly linked to the Angels of Christianity. Here we offer the coin in Very Fine. they will fit your collection nicely.