An interesting Nicomedia siliqua of Valens

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by seth77, Aug 4, 2021.

  1. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    A rather scarce early type siliqua for Valens:


    AR18mm 1.97g silver siliqua, minted at Nicomedia, cca. 367
    DN VALENS - PF AVG; pearl-diademed draped cuirassed bust r.
    VOT / V /MVLTIS / X inside a wreath
    SMN in exergue
    RIC IX Nicomedia 21b, R

    RIC puts this issue into the 24 August 367 to 17 November 375 period, but it's likely that it was minted before the elevation of Gratian in August of 367, as there is no Gratian issue known for the type. The type is rather rare, so there is a possibility that an issue for Gratian might still exist (siliquae for Gratian at Nicomedia are extremely rare in general), but in any case, this is very likely an emission dating to 367, either from the first part of the year, or very early after the elevation of Gratian. The later issue with VOT X MVLT XX, so minted as vota suscepta for the future decennalia (after ca. 368/9) is also missing Gratian, so it is possible that the lack of coinage from this issue is also due to the fact that Valens chose to strike far less silver in the name of his nephew than in the name of himself and his brother Valentinian.

    In 367 Valens is either at Constantinople or in Asia Minor, preparing to march against the Goths that had been allies to Procopius in his usurpation. Probably the minting of silver in 367 at Nicomedia and Constantinople relates to the preparations for this military venture, which starts that autumn. If this theory is correct, then RIC 20 and 21 (p. 254-5) -- of which just RIC 20 has a very rare issue for Gratian -- were minted until autumn 367, very early in the reign of Gratian, which could account for the rarity of coins minted in his name.

    The campaign lasts into 368 and 369, so probably this is the period that sees the beginning of the new VOT X MVLT XX siliquae, in tune with the vota soluta of 5 years and the vows for 10 and 20 years as vota suscepta.
    VD76, Hrefn, Brian Bucklan and 13 others like this.
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