Obverse: DN VALENTINIANVS PF AVG; Diademed, Draped, and Cuirassed Bust of the Emperor Facing Right
Reverse: GLORIA ROMANORVM; Valentinian II Walking to the Right, Holding a Labarum and Dragging a Captive Behind Him
Valentinian II was the Roman emperor of the West from 375–92 A.D. Upon the death of his father, Valentinian I, he was proclaimed emperor along with his brother Gratian acting as coregent. After the death of Valens in 378, Gratian made Theodosius I ruler in the East. Valentinian’s reign during his minority was plagued by the religious struggle between the Arians, supported by his mother, Justina, and the Nicene Christians led by Gratian and St. Ambrose. In 383, Gratian was killed by order of Maximus, and the personal rule of Valentinian began. However, in 387, he was expelled from Italy by Maximus but was restored by Theodosius a year later in 388. Unfortunately, Valentinian was murdered four years later, perhaps by the Frankish general Arbogast, who then named the puppet Eugenius as emperor.
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 to an emperor passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.