VALENTINIAN I w labarum Two Crosses Very Rare 375AD Ancient Roman Coin i20464
Item: i20464 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Valentinian I – Roman Emperor: 364-375 A. Bronze AE3 18mm (2.11 grams) Struck 375 A. DNVALENTINIANVSPFAVG – Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. GLORIAROMANORVM – Valentinian I dragging captive right, holding labarum, cross in left and right field. Numismatic Note: This is a rare, possibly unpublished type with the two crosses in the fields. Labarum of Constantine I, displaying the “Chi-Rho” symbol above. The labarum was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the “Chi-Rho” symbol , formed from the first two Greek letters of the word “Christ” – Chi and Rho. It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine I. Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolize the crucifixion of Christ. Later usage has sometimes regarded the terms “labarum” and “Chi-Rho” as synonyms. Ancient sources, however, draw an unambiguous distinction between the two. A coin of Constantine c. 337 showing a depiction of his labarum spearing a serpent. On the evening of October 27, 312, with his army preparing for the Battle of the Milvian Bridge , the emperor Constantine I claimed to have had a vision which led him to believe he was fighting under the protection of the Christian God. Lactantius states that, in the night before the battle, Constantine was commanded in a dream to “delineate the heavenly sign on the shields of his soldiers”. He obeyed and marked the shields with a sign “denoting Christ”. Lactantius describes that sign as a “staurogram”, or a Latin cross with its upper end rounded in a P-like fashion, rather than the better known Chi-Rho sign described by Eusebius of Caesarea. Thus, it had both the form of a cross and the monogram of Christ’s name from the formed letters “X” and “P”, the first letters of Christ’s name in Greek. From Eusebius, two accounts of a battle survive. The first, shorter one in the Ecclesiastical History leaves no doubt that God helped Constantine but doesn’t mention any vision. In his later Life of Constantine , Eusebius gives a detailed account of a vision and stresses that he had heard the story from the emperor himself. According to this version, Constantine with his army was marching somewhere (Eusebius doesn’t specify the actual location of the event, but it clearly isn’t in the camp at Rome) when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words. The traditionally employed Latin translation of the Greek is in hoc signo vinces – literally In this sign, you will conquer. ” However, a direct translation from the original Greek text of Eusebius into English gives the phrase “By this, conquer! At first he was unsure of the meaning of the apparition, but the following night he had a dream in which Christ explained to him that he should use the sign against his enemies. Eusebius then continues to describe the labarum, the military standard used by Constantine in his later wars against Licinius , showing the Chi-Rho sign. Those two accounts can hardly be reconciled with each other, though they have been merged in popular notion into Constantine seeing the Chi-Rho sign on the evening before the battle. Both authors agree that the sign was not readily understandable as denoting Christ, which corresponds with the fact that there is no certain evidence of the use of the letters chi and rho as a Christian sign before Constantine. Its first appearance is on a Constantinian silver coin from c. 317, which proves that Constantine did use the sign at that time, though not very prominently. He made extensive use of the Chi-Rho and the labarum only later in the conflict with Licinius. The vision has been interpreted in a solar context e. As a solar halo phenomenon, which would have been reshaped to fit with the Christian beliefs of the later Constantine. An alternate explanation of the intersecting celestial symbol has been advanced by George Latura, which claims that Plato’s visible god in Timaeus is in fact the intersection of the Milky Way and the Zodiacal Light, a rare apparition important to pagan beliefs that Christian bishops reinvented as a Christian symbol. Iconographic career under Constantine. Coin of Vetranio , a soldier is holding two labara. Interestingly they differ from the labarum of Constantine in having the Chi-Rho depicted on the cloth rather than above it, and in having their staves decorated with phalerae as were earlier Roman military unit standards. The emperor Honorius holding a variant of the labarum – the Latin phrase on the cloth means In the name of Christ [rendered by the Greek letters XPI] be ever victorious. Among a number of standards depicted on the Arch of Constantine , which was erected, largely with fragments from older monuments, just three years after the battle, the labarum does not appear. A grand opportunity for just the kind of political propaganda that the Arch otherwise was expressly built to present was missed. That is if Eusebius’ oath-confirmed account of Constantine’s sudden, vision-induced, conversion can be trusted. Many historians have argued that in the early years after the battle the emperor had not yet decided to give clear public support to Christianity, whether from a lack of personal faith or because of fear of religious friction. The arch’s inscription does say that the Emperor had saved the res publica INSTINCTV DIVINITATIS MENTIS MAGNITVDINE (“by greatness of mind and by instinct [or impulse] of divinity”). As with his predecessors, sun symbolism – interpreted as representing Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun) or Helios , Apollo or Mithras – is inscribed on his coinage, but in 325 and thereafter the coinage ceases to be explicitly pagan, and Sol Invictus disappears. In his Historia Ecclesiae Eusebius further reports that, after his victorious entry into Rome, Constantine had a statue of himself erected, holding the sign of the Savior [the cross] in his right hand. There are no other reports to confirm such a monument. Whether Constantine was the first Christian emperor supporting a peaceful transition to Christianity during his rule, or an undecided pagan believer until middle age, strongly influenced in his political-religious decisions by his Christian mother St. Helena , is still in dispute among historians. During the attack of Constantine’s troops at the Battle of Adrianople the guard of the labarum standard were directed to move it to any part of the field where his soldiers seemed to be faltering. Constantine felt that both Licinius and Arius were agents of Satan, and associated them with the serpent described in the Book of Revelation (12:9). Constantine represented Licinius as a snake on his coins. Eusebius stated that in addition to the singular labarum of Constantine, other similar standards (labara) were issued to the Roman army. This is confirmed by the two labara depicted being held by a soldier on a coin of Vetranio (illustrated) dating from 350. Flavius Valentinianus , known in English as Valentinian I , (321 – November 17 , 375) was Roman Emperor from 364 until his death. Valentinian is often referred to as the “last great western emperor”. Both he and his brother Emperor Valens were born at Cibalae (modern days Vinkovci , Croatia), in Pannonia , the sons of a successful general, Gratian the Elder. He had been an officer who served under the emperors Julian and Jovian , and had risen high in the imperial service. Of robust frame and distinguished appearance, he possessed great courage and military capacity. After the death of Jovian, he was chosen emperor in his forty-third year by the officers of the army at Nicaea in Bithynia on February 26 , 364, and shortly afterwards named his brother Valens colleague with him in the empire. The two brothers, after passing through the chief cities of the neighbouring district, arranged the partition of the empire at Naissus (Nissa) in Upper Moesia. As Western Roman Emperor, Valentinian took Italia , Illyricum , Hispania , the Gauls , Britain and Africa , leaving to Eastern Roman Emperor Valens the eastern half of the Balkan peninsula , Greece , Aegyptus , Syria and Asia Minor as far as Persia. They were immediately confronted by the revolt of Procopius , a relative of the deceased Julian. Valens defeated his army at Thyatira in Lydia in 366, and Procopius was executed shortly afterwards. During the short reign of Valentinian there were wars in Africa, in Germany , and in Britain, and Rome came into collision with barbarian peoples, specifically the Burgundians and the Saxons. Valentinian’s chief work was guarding the frontiers and establishing military positions. Milan was at first his headquarters for settling the affairs of northern Italy. The following year (365) Valentinian was at Paris , and then at Reims , to direct the operations of his generals against the Alamanni. These people, defeated at Scarpona (Charpeigne) and Catelauni (Châlons-en-Champagne) by Jovinus, were driven back to the German bank of the Rhine , and checked for a while by a chain of military posts and fortresses. At the close of 367, however, they suddenly crossed the Rhine, attacked Moguntiacum (Mainz) and plundered the city. But his own losses were so considerable that Valentinian abandoned the idea of following up his success. Later, in 371, Valentinian made peace with their king, Macrian , who from that time remained a true friend of the Romans. The next three years he spent at Trier , which he chiefly made his headquarters, organizing the defence of the Rhine frontier, and personally superintending the construction of numerous forts. During his reign the coasts of Gaul were harassed by the Saxon pirates, with whom the Picts and Scots of northern Britain joined hands, and ravaged the island from the Antonine Wall to the shores of Kent. In 368 Count Theodosius was sent to drive back the invaders; in this he was completely successful, and established a new British province, called Valentia in honour of the emperor. In Africa, Firmus raised the standard of revolt, being joined by the provincials, who had been rendered desperate by the cruelty and extortions of Comes Romanus, the military governor. The services of Theodosius were again requisitioned. He landed in Africa with a small band of veterans, and Firmus, to avoid being taken prisoner, committed suicide. In 374, the Quadi , a Germanic tribe in what is now Moravia and Slovakia , resenting the erection of Roman forts to the north of the Danube in what they considered to be their own territory, and further exasperated by the treacherous murder of their king, Gabinius , crossed the river and laid waste the province of Pannonia. The emperor in April, 375 entered Illyricum with a powerful army. But during an audience to an embassy from the Quadi at Brigetio on the Danube (near today Komárno in Slovakia), Valentinian suffered a burst blood vessel in the skull while angrily yelling at the people gathered. This injury resulted in his death on November 17, 375. Jones writes that though he was “less of a boor” than his chief rival for election to the imperial throne, “he was of a violent and brutal temper, and not only uncultivated himself, but hostile to cultivated persons”, as Ammianus tells us,’he hated the well-dressed and educated and wealthy and well-born’. He was, however, an able soldier and a conscientious administrator, and took an interest in the welfare of the humbler classes, from which his father had risen. Unfortunately his good intentions were often frustrated by a bad choice of ministers, and an obstinate belief in their merits despite all evidence to the contrary. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica 1911 , he was a founder of schools, and provided medical attendance for the poor of Rome, by appointing a physician for each of the fourteen districts of the city. Valentinian was a Christian but permitted liberal religious freedom to all his subjects, proscribing only some forms of rituals such as particular types of sacrifices, and banning the practice of magic. Against all abuses, both civil and ecclesiastical (excepting, of course, his own excesses), Valentinian steadily set his face, even against the increasing wealth and worldliness of the clergy. His chief flaw was his temper, which at times was frightful, and showed itself in its full fierceness in the punishment of persons accused of witchcraft, some kinds of fortune-telling or magical practices. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? 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- Ruler: Valentinian I
- Ancient Coins: Roman Coins
- Coin Type: Ancient Roman