Home Ancient Byzantine Non-Dynastic Emperors 363-378 AD BC001262
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Valentinian II; 375-392 AD
Solidus c. 375-383 AD
Valentinian II was born c 371 and died at age 21 on May 15, 392 after a short reign as Roman Emperor from 375 to 392 AD. His father and the Emperor of the West Valentinian I was married twice. From his first marriage to Marina Severa he had a son, Gratian. He then divorced Severa to marry Justina the, widow of the usurper Magnentius. Valentinian II was the child of Valentinian I and Justina. When Valentinian I died on campaign in 375 the army commanders instead of acknowledging Gratian as his father’s successor acclaimed the four-year old Valentinian Augustus on 22 November 375. The army was uneasy about Gratian's lack of military ability endorsing a boy who would not immediately aspire to military command. Valentinian II would be emperor with his mother Justina acting as his regent. Gratian had no choice in the matter and was assigned governor of trans-alpine provinces leaving Italy, sections of Illyricum, and Africa under the control of Valentinian. The Emperor of the East Valens (Valentinian I’s brother) n, their uncle, was killed in battle by the Goths at Adrianople in 378. Gratian supported the general Theodosios to become emperor in the East. In Milan, Justina, an Arian, used her influence to oppose the Nicean Party under the leadership of the Bishop Ambrose. In 386 Justina and Valentinian received the Arian bishop Auxentius deposing Ambrose was again ordered to hand over a church in Milan for Arian usage. Valentinian’s decision to protect the despoiling of pagan temples in Rome created further unrest. Theodosios, Valentinian’s protector, questioned the decisions of Valentinian. Opportunistically, the commander of the armies in Britain Magnus Maximus, declared himself Emperor of the West in 383. Gratian died while trying to escape. Valentinian came to an accommodation with the usurper while Theodosios recognized Maximus as co-emperor of the West. When Maximus threatened Milan Valentinian II and Justina fled to Theodosios in Thessalonica where an alliance was ratified when Theodosios married Valentinian’s sister Galla. In 388, Theodosios marched west and defeated Maximus. Theodosios remained in Milan until 391 while Valentinian and his court were installed at Vienne in Gaul. Meanwhile Theodosius appointed key administrators in the West and had coins minted, which implied his guardianship over the 17 year old as Justina had died. Theodosius's appointed his trusted general, Arbogast Magister Militum and guardian of Valentinian. When Arbogast prohibited the emperor from leading the Gallic armies into Italy to oppose a barbarian threat Valentinian dismissed Arbogast. Arbogast publicly tore up Valentinian’s decree and on 15 May 392, Valentinian was found hanged in his residence in Vienne. Civil war ensued and in 394 from which Theodosius emerged the victor. Obverse diademed, draped, and cuirassed Valentinian DNVALENTI ANVS P F AVG. Reverse, helmeted Constantinopolis seated on a throne ornamented with lion heads, holding scepter and globe with her foot on a prow CONCORDIA AVGGGE CONOB
Mint: Constantinople
Provenance: Private acquisition Ex Harlan Berk B/B 182 L 22 2012, Ex NFA XXXIII 3 May 1994 Lot 716

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