The history Born April 18th 359 AD, Gratian was the oldest son of Valentinian I, he went along with his father during several campaigns along the borders of the Rhine and the Danube and was elevated to the rank of Augustus in 367 AD at the age of 8 years old. On the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratien took the government of the west while his half - brother Valentinian II was also acclaimed Emperor in the province of Pannonia. Gratien ruled the western provinces of the empire, while his uncle Valens was already the Emperor in the East. He published in 380 AD the edict of Thessalonica, which ordered all subjects of the Roman Empire to profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria, making Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. He also declared that all of the pagan temples and shrines were to be confiscated by the government and that their revenues were to be joined to the property of the state treasury. Gratian was also the first Emperor to refuse the office of Pontifex Maximus. Finally in 383 AD his army deserted him, he fled to Lyons, and was later killed: he was 24 and leaving no children... The coinage It is under Gratian's reign that the small bronzes became for the first time the principal form of coinage for the common people of the Empire. From this period we can note the passage from the Ae3 to the smallest denomination Ae4. It was the beginning of a new stage which will go on for a century where the coinage is becoming smaller and rougher in design and fabrication. This evolution is to be put in relation with the growing place occupied by silver coinage in the second half of the 4th century. Siliqua, Aquileia, Roma seated. At the beginning of the 380s, a new reform created two new bronze denominations: an Ae2 at 1/60 pound and an Ae4 which was probably struck at 1/192 of a pound in the West and at 1/252 of a pound in the East. The Ae3, now an intermediate denomination, is becoming scarce. The new heavy denomination (Ae2), for its part, is rapidly disappearing. Ae2, Aquileia, Emperor raising kneeling female. The question: why having Gratian's coins in my collection ? Personally I don't know anybody who specialize in this Emperor's coinage; but his siliquae are among the cheapest of all, ditto for the solidi and if like me you were one day fantasizing about gathering one coin of each Emperor, well you got to grab at least one specimen... Anyway, on the day he's born, please show me your Gratian´s coins !