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HOME : Roman Coins : Empress Galeria Valeria : Bronze Follis of Empress Galeria Valeria
Bronze Follis of Empress Galeria Valeria - C.390
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 305 AD to 311 AD

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Bronze

Additional Information: Found in Sebastia, Palestine
Location: United States
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Obverse: GAL VALERIA AVG; Diademed and Draped Bust of the Empress Facing Right

Reverse: VENERI VICTRICI; Venus Standing to the Left, Holding an Apple

Galeria Valeria was the daughter of Emperor Diocletian and married Galerius upon his elevation as Caesar in 293 A.D. in order to cement the alliance between the two rulers. However, it appears as though their marriage was not a happy one. The couple produced no children. After Galerius died in 311 A.D., Valeria went to live at the court of Maximinus Daia, who became Emperor of the East upon Galerius’ demise. Shortly thereafter, Maximinus proposed to Valeria. Yet it seems that he was more interested in her wealth and the prestige of marrying the widow of one emperor and the daughter of another than he was in her as a person. Valeria refuse his proposal, thus invoking his rage. Maximinus banished her to Syria against the wishes of her father Diocletian, who was now retired at his Dalmatian villa. A civil war erupted between Maximinus and Licinius and after Licinius won, Valeria became a fugitive, leading her to seek safe haven with her father. However, Diocletian passed away before she could reach the coast and Valeria had to travel from village to village in disguise, perpetually living in fear of being discovered. Eventually, after a year on the run, she was discovered in the Greek city of Salonika and was executed.

How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This ancient coin is a memorial a powerful woman passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.
- (C.390)


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