Late Roman Empire Coins

VI. I define "Late Roman" as everything after the Battle of Hadrianopolis; 378 AD.

click on the coin for a view of both sides

Tetrarchy & Constantine
Back to Home
pictures of coin coin notes history notes
siliqua of Valens
Valens r. 364 - 378 AD
Eastern Roman Emperor
silver siliqua
  (Stack's: Coin Galleries, mail bid, lot 866, July 2007)

Siliqua are a restored Roman currency of good silver content. These were substantially lighter than the older denarii but a paper on the XRF of apparently a small sample size of siliquae indicate that at least up & including Theodosius II (402-450 AD), they were ~ 94% silver.

wt = 2.080 g

Valens is famous as the Roman Emperor who lost the Battle of Hadrianopolis in 378 AD. A large force of Hunnic invaders were trying to settle within Roman territory. LValens Was supposed to wait for reinforcements from the Eastern Roman Emperor but for various reasons he attacked on his own. 80,000 Roman troops were estimated lost, wiping out Roman forces guarding the Empire and leaving it open for subsequent invasion.

solidus of Valens
Valens r. 364 - 378 AD
Eastern Roman Emperor
gold solidus
mint state
(Leu Numismatik Auction 4, lot 757)
dia 21 mm, wt = 4.46 g, 6h
solidus of Honorius
Honorius r. 395 - 423 A.D.
gold solidus
Gorney & Mosch, March, 2012

wt = 4.450 g
siliqua of Constantine III
Constantine III, 407 - 411 AD
co-Emperor from 409
silver siliqua
  (Gorny & Mosch Auction 484, lot 1117)
diam = 16 mm, wt = 1.58 g
siliqua of Jovinus
Jovinus, 411- 413 AD
silver siliqua
  (Leu Numismatik Auction 4, lot 782)
diam = 17 mm, wt = 1.43 g
gold tremissis of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos 1st reign 474 - 475 A.D.
gold tremissis
Ed Wadell, 2014

wt = g

Last or Next to Last Western Roman Emperor?

As 480 marks the end of the juridical division of the empire into two imperial courts, some historians refer to the death of Nepos and abolition of the Western Empire by Zeno as the end of the Western Roman Empire.
Wikipedia reference
The traditional approach, as espoused by Gibbon in the late 1700's is the Romulus Augustus was the last Western Roman Emperor and Nepos is the penultimate one.

Edwards Watts, renowned author of "Mortal Republic" published an article in Time magazine espousing the idea that "The fall of Rome in 476 is a historical turning point that was invented nearly 50 years later as a pretext for a devastating war."

A link to the Times article is here:

Just in case a pdf copy of the article is here (840 Kb).

Rome Didn't Fall When You Thought It Did

Tetrarchy & Constantine
Back to Home
the value for the page url is: