Theodosius II Last Coin ------------------ Next Coin Pulcheria

Eastern Roman Empire

Ruler: Aelia Eudocia
Reigned: wife of Theodosius II, Augusta 423 - 460 AD
Denomination: AR Siliqua
Date of Issue: 420 - 429 AD
Obverse: Pearl-diademed and draped bust right; "AEL. EVDO-CIA AVG."
Reverse: Cross within wreath with central medallion.
Mint marks:
Reference: RIC X 384; RSC 4; RCVM 21246
Weight: 1.9 gms
Nominal Weight: 2.25 gms
Diameter: 16.9 mm


Aelia Eudocia, originallv called 'Athenais', was the daughter of the Athenian sophist Leontius and was born in Athens. Her father recognized her unusual abilities and ensured that she had a first class education. An inheritance dispute with her brothers look her to Constantinople where, despite her pagan background, her beauty and eloquence attracted the attention of the empress Pulcheria, sister of Theodosius II. Pulcheria was looking for a suitable bride for her brother and it was decided that at once Athenais espoused Christianity and accepted baptism she would marry Theodosius and become the empress Aelia Eudocia. The couple were wed on 7th June 421 and two years later she received the rank of Augusta on the birth of her first child, Licinia Eudoxia, who was later to marry the western emperor Valentinian III. Eudocia was a prolific writer and composed verses celebrating Roman victories over the Persians in 421 and 422, as well as works on the Old Testament and a poem on the martyrdom of St. Cyprian. Pulcheria may have come to rue her decision to admit the brilliant Athenian to the imperial court. The two were both strong-minded and ultimately became rivals for influence over the emperor. Eventually, Pulcheria prevailed and in 443 Eudocia las obliged to 'retire' to Jerusalem, where she had already spent time several years earlier. She outlived both Theodosius and Pulcheria and died in Jerusalem in 460 where she was buried in St. Stephen's church. She appears to have retained the title of Augusta until her death, though her coinage ceased in 443.

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