Theodosius I

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by seth77, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Romancollector

    Romancollector Well-Known Member

    Theodosius I and his grandson, Theodosius II
    Theodosius I siliqua rephotographed.png Theodosius II miliarense.png
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  4. Theoderic

    Theoderic Member

    It is surprising that the last emperor who ruled the whole empire doesn't get more attention here. I've been on the lookout for one of his solidi for awhile as I think the engraving work is often nicely done. The only coin I do have of his is a small, common but carefully made bronze. It seems that the Siscia mint always had good quality control oversight.

    Theodosius I RIC 29d 14mm.png

    AE (15 mm, 1.50 grams, 12h), Struck A.D. 379-383, Siscia mint, 1st officina
    Obverse: D N THEODO-SIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Reverse: VOT / V / MVLT / X, in four lines within wreath; ASISC in exergue
    Reference: RIC IX 29d.1
    Provenance: Triton XI (January 8-9, 2008), Lot 1019
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  5. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Nice to see a thread about Theodosius I! His coinage, though fascinating both historically and numismatically, is certainly underappreciated.

    I particularly like the larger AE coins and their interesting reverse iconography. Also, these can be quite attractive as far as late Roman bronze coins go:

    Rom – Theodosius, AE2, Reparatio Reipulicae.png
    Theodosius I, Roman Empire, AE 2, 378–383 AD, Siscia mint. Obv: DN THEODOSIVS PF AVG; bust of Theodosius I, diademed, draped and cuirassed, r. Rev: REPARATIO REIPVB; Emperor, head l., standing facing, with r. hand raising kneeling turreted woman, and holding Victory on globe in l.; in exergue, BSISC. 22mm, 5.44g. Ref: RIC IX Siscia 26C.

    Rom – Theodosius, AE2, stehender Kaiser, Gloria Romanorum.png
    Theodosius I, Roman Empire, AE2, 378–383 AD, Siscia mint. Obv: DN THEODOSIVS PF AVG; bust of Theodosius I, diademed, draped and cuirassed, r. Rev: REPARATIO REIPVB; Emperor, head r., standing facing, holding standard and globe; in exergue, ANTA. 22mm, 4.48g. Ref: RIC IX Antioch 68A. Ex Spring Coins, Texas.

    The small AE4s are abundantly available and usually not very pretty. Yet, the first coin below is interesting since it shows a cross in the left reverse field instead of the more common Chi Rho monogram () visible on my second example. Contrary to common belief, the cross wasn't very widely used as a symbol in early Christianity. In fact, the cross on this coin is quite early:
    Rom – Theodosius, AE4, Salvs Reipvblicae, Antioch.png
    Theodosius I, Roman Empire, AE4, 383–392 AD, Antioch mint. Obv: DN THEODOSIVS PF AVG; bust of Theodosius I, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed, r. Rev: SALVS REIPVBLICAE; Victory advancing l., carrying trophy over shoulder with r. hand, and dragging captive with l.; in l. field, cross; in exergue ANTB. 12mm, 1.16g. Ref: RIC IX Antioch 67B.

    Rom – Theodosius, AE4, Salus Reipublicae, Kyzikos.png
    Theodosius I, Roman Empire, AE4, 388–392 AD, Cyzicus mint. Obv: DN THEODOSIVS PF AVG; bust of Theodosius I, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed, r. Rev: SALVS REIPVBLICAE; Victory advancing l., carrying trophy over shoulder with r. hand, and dragging captive with l.; in l. field, ☧; in exergue, SMKB. 13mm, 1.40g. Ref: RIC IX Cyzicus 26B.
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  6. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    the symbol in the left field is a tau-rho

  7. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Oh, you’re right - now I see it, too. Thanks!
  8. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Galla Placidia was the daughter of Theodosius I, not his mother.
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  10. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thank you. Boo-boo on my part.
  11. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Given the reverse legend VIRTVS ROMANORVM, I think it's quite possible that the reverse figure may be the personification of Virtus, rather than the personification of Roma. True, the two are often depicted similarly, and can be difficult to distinguish. See this excerpt from the book by Myles McDonnell entitled Roman Manliness - Virtus and the Roman Republic (Cambridge 2006), at p. 149:

    excerpt re Virtus from McDonnell book.jpg
    What leads me to believe that this figure may be Virtus rather than Roma -- even though she is seated, not standing -- is not only the reverse legend, but the fact that the figure is portrayed with a bare right breast. See my comments on the subject in the thread at, as well as, most recently, in a comment of mine in the "Follow the coin theme game" thread (see‘em-if-you-got-‘em.300099/page-305#post-4691110).

    Also, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not familiar with portrayals of Roma herself with a bare breast. See the article at FORVM Ancient Coiins about Virtus (, commenting as follows about an antoninianus of Philip I (see for photo): "Virtus wears a helmet and carries a spear, but is this a male? The drapery of the clothing, and the bared breast, suggest otherwise. In fact, Sear (ref. 8974) says this might be Minerva, but Minerva doesn't bare her breast. That would be beneath her dignity, as it would be for Roma."
  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    When I stated that the coin I posted earlier in this thread was my only coin of Theodosius I, I completely forgot to mention that one of the several rather wretched LRBs that I bought from a local coin shop a couple of blocks from where I lived, back in 1963 or 1964 when I was 8 or 9 years old -- at the price of four coins for a dollar! -- was actually a Theodosius I. All the dealer told me was that the emperor was known as Theodosius the Great, which I found immensely impressive at that age regardless of the coin's condition! I didn't identify the type until many years later, from my 1981 edition of Sear's Roman Coin Values. (It may be in poor condition, but at least it was identifiable!)

    I tried to photograph it for the first time today, so here it is:

    Theodosius I, AE2 (Sear: Maiorina), 379-383 AD, Aquileia Mint, 1st Officina. Obv. Pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, DN THEODO-SIVS PF AVG / Rev. Emperor standing front, head left, offering right hand to turreted female on left to help her rise from kneeling position, and holding Victory in left hand on a globe, REPARATIO REIPVB; in exergue: SMAQP (P = 1st Officina). RIC IX 30d, Cohen 27, Sear RCV V 20497. 22mm., 4.3 g.

    Theodosius I AE2 RIC 30d Obv 2.jpg

    (The bluish-green areas on the obverse don't appear to be powdery, and in any event don't seem to have advanced much in the 56 or 57 years I've owned the coin!)

    Theodosius I AE2 RIC 30d Rev 2.jpg

    Anyway, I've seen worse (although certainly not in this thread), especially for a quarter! Although I'm still not planning to make it an "official" part of my collection and add it to my catalog.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  13. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    What is actually impressive is that you kept it for all these years.

    And I think I see SMRS or Q in the exergue, so rather Rome than Aquileia.
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  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    You're quite likely correct. It depends on whether there are four or five letters in the exergue. Perhaps what I thought was the 5th letter is actually the last letter (B) of the reverse legend REIPUB. If it was minted in Rome, then it's RIC IX 43d, Cohen 27, Sear RCV V 20498.

    In terms of keeping it all these years, I don't think I've ever thrown out a coin, no matter how poor the condition. I still have all the other cheap "foreign" coins I collected as a child, including on family vacations to Caribbean islands.

    Also, I've added the word "turreted," from Sear, to the description of the kneeling female figure on the reverse. I can actually kind of see the turret now that I know what to look for. Presumably she is supposed to represent Tyche or Cybele or some other personification or goddess who's usually depicted that way. Although a pagan goddess seems rather unlikely for someone like Theodosius.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  15. Steven Michael Gardner

    Steven Michael Gardner Active Member

  16. ernstk

    ernstk Active Member

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  17. Steven Michael Gardner

    Steven Michael Gardner Active Member

    Donna I recently let this coin go to a new home, if I had known I would have contacted you.... It was a favorite of mine due to its intricate details, Theodosius I
    (the Great) was the ending of an empire, many historians mark
    17 January 395 AD. the day of Theodosius' death as the beginning of the Middle Ages...

    Attached Files:

  18. Steven Michael Gardner

    Steven Michael Gardner Active Member

    Wow, what a nice group of beautiful Theo's
  19. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Great coin!
  20. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Lots of great stuff in this thread! My most unusual Theo is the following heavy miliarense:

    Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 12.39.19 AM.jpg
    A heavy VOTIS V miliarense is known for Trier, but as far as I know this is the only known example from Constantinople. The denomination was probably used as a presentation issue, and this one would have been produced somewhere in the range of 379-383. At his hasty elevation to replace Valens? Upon his entry into Constantinople in 380? In 381 when he wowed Athanaric and the other Gothic chieftans with the marvels of the city? Later? I don't know, but I'd sure like to!
  21. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    I have very few coins of Theodosius.

    Theodosius I - AE4

    Obv:– D N THEODO-SIVS P F AVG, Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev:– VOT / X / MVLT / XX within wreath
    Minted in Alexandria (//ALEGamma). 9th August A.D. 378 - 25th August A.D. 383
    Reference(s) – RIC IX Alexandria 13c (R)

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