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Eastern Roman Empire

Ruler: Theodosius I
Reigned: Eastern Emperor 379 - 395 AD
Denomination: Bronze Centenionalis
Mint: Constantinople
Date of Issue: 379 - 383 AD
Obverse: Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. "D.N. THEODOSIVS P.F. AVG."
Reverse: Constantinopolis seated head left, holding globe and spear. "CONCORDIA AVGGG."
Mint marks:
Reference: RIC IX 57d, RCVM 20531
Weight: 2.5 gms
Nominal Weight: 2.5 gms extremely variable
Diameter: 18 mm

THEODOSIUS I (Flavius Theodosius)

  • Theodosius was born at Italica in Spain in 346 AD. He was the son of the famous Count Theodosius who restored the authority of Valentinian I in Britain.
  • When the eastern emperor, Valens, was killed at the battle of Hadrianopolis in 378, Gratian, the western emperor, appointed Theododius as emperor in the east.
  • Theodosius was a great law-giver and defender of Christianity, and came to be called 'the Great'.
  • After a four-year war against the Goths, a peace treaty was signed in 382. This allowed the Visigoths to settle on Roman lands under their own king, a dangerous precedent.
  • In 383, Theodosius appointed his infant son, Arcadius, his co-emperor in the east.
  • When Magnus Maximus, invaded Italy in 387 Valentinian II, the western emperor, fled. Theododius came to Valentinian's aid, defeating the usurper and re-establishing Valentinian in his position.
  • In May 392, Valentinian II was killed or persuaded to commit suicide by his general, Arbogast.
  • Arbogast, being a Frank, was unable to rule himself, so he had Eugenius appointed in the west.
  • Theodosius was married to the sister of Valentinian, and she pleaded with him to avenge her brother.
  • Theodosius arrived at the Julian Alps with an army to attack Eugenius and Arbogastes. Finding the passes heavily fortified, he managed to turn the loyalty of Eugenius's troops and defeat him at the Battle of the River Frigidus, 394. Fighting on the side of Theodosius in this battle was the Visigoth, Alaric, who 15 years later would sack Rome.
  • In 393, Theodosius appointed his second son, Honorius, as emperor in the west in place of Eugenius.
  • Theodosius died at Milan in 395, leaving the 17 year old Arcadius as sole ruler of the west, and the 10 year old Honorius as sole ruler of the east.

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