AELIA FLACILLA Theodosius I Wife 383AD Ancient Roman Coin VICTORY CHI-RHO i67486
Item: i67486 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Wife of Theodosius I. Bronze AE4 11mm (0.83 grams) Struck 383-388 A. AEL FLACCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right. SALVS REIPVBLICAE, Victory seated right, inscribing Chi-Rho onto shield set on column. The Chi Rho is one of the earliest christograms used by Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters in the Greek spelling of the word Christ (Greek :), chi=ch and rho=r, in such a way to produce the monogram. The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by pagan Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrston, meaning good. Although not technically a cross, the Chi Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ. There is early evidence of the Chi Rho symbol on Christian Rings of the third century. The labarum (Greek:) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the “Chi-Rho” symbol, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word “Christ” (Greek: , or) – 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 crucifixion. The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrston, meaning good. In ancient Roman religion, Victoria or Victory was the personified goddess of victory. She is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike, and was associated with Bellona. She was adapted from the Sabine agricultural goddess Vacuna and had a temple on the Palatine Hill. The goddess Vica Pota was also sometimes identified with Victoria. Unlike the Greek Nike , the goddess Victoria (Latin for “victory”) was a major part of Roman society. Multiple temples were erected in her honor. When her statue was removed in 382 CE by Emperor Gratianus there was much anger in Rome. She was normally worshiped by triumphant generals returning from war. Also unlike the Greek Nike, who was known for success in athletic games such as chariot races, Victoria was a symbol of victory over death and determined who would be successful during war. Victoria appears widely on Roman coins, jewelry, architecture, and other arts. She is often seen with or in a chariot, as in the late 18th-century sculpture representing Victory in a quadriga on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany; “Il Vittoriano” in Rome has two. Winged figures, very often in pairs, representing victory and referred to as “victories”, were common in Roman official iconography, typically hovering high in a composition, and often filling spaces in spandrels or other gaps in architecture. These represent the spirit of victory rather than the goddess herself. They continued to appear after Christianization of the Empire, and slowly mutated into Christian angels. The symbolism of angels has been adopted from the ancient Roman goddess of victory by the early Christians. The goddess transformed into what is known by the Christians as angels via the Christianization of the Roman empire. This is evidenced by many coins still depicting victory, yet of the time period where Christianity was already the official religion of the Roman empire. She appears along with symbols such as a Christogram (also known as a Chi-Rho which is a monogram of Jesus Christ), Staurogram, and the cross, attributing to it’s Christian symbolism. An angel is a purely spiritual being found in various religions and mythologies. In Abrahamic religions and Zoroastrianism, angels are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between God or Heaven and Earth, or as guardian spirits or a guiding influence. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God’s tasks. The term “angel” has also been diversified to various notions of spirits or figures found in many other religious traditions. The theological study of angels is known as “angelology”. In art, angels are often depicted with bird-like wings on their back, a halo, robes and various forms of glowing light. Aelia Flavia Flaccilla (died 385), first wife of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. She was of Hispanian Roman descent. During her marriage to Theodosius, she gave birth to two sons – future Emperors Arcadius and Honorius – and a daughter, Aelia Pulcheria. She was given the title of Augusta , as her coinage shows. According to Laus Serenae (“In Praise of Serena”), a poem by Claudian, both Serena and Flaccilla were from Hispania. A passage of Themistius (Oratio XVI, De Saturnino) has been interpreted as identifying Flavius Claudius Antonius, Praetorian prefect of Gaul from 376 to 377 and Roman consul in 382, to be her father. However the relation is considered doubtful. In 1967, John Robert Martindale, later one of several article writers in the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, suggested that the passage actually identifies Antonius as the brother-in-law of Theodosius. However the passage is vague enough to allow Flavius Afranius Syagrius, co-consul of Antonius in 382, to be the brother-in-law in question. The only kin clearly identified in primary sources was her nephew Nebridius, son of an unnamed sister. He married Salvina, a daughter of Gildo. Their marriage was mentioned by Jerome in his correspondence with Salvina. They had a son and a daughter. In about 375-376, Flaccilla married Theodosius I, a son of Count Theodosius. At the time Theodosius had fallen out of favor with Valentinian I and had withdrawn to civilian life in Cauca, Gallaecia. Their first son Arcadius was born prior to the elevation of his parents on the throne. Their secold son Honorius was born on 9 September 384. Their daughter Pulcheria has been suggested to have been born prior to the elevation of her parents to the throne due to another passage of Laus Serenae. She predeceased her parents as mentioned in the writings of Gregory of Nyssa. Mentioned alongside the imperial children by Ambrose. Has at times been suggested as a third son. However, Gregory of Nyssa reports the existence of only three imperial children and other sources do not mention Gratian. Gratian was possibly a relation of some sort but not an actual member of the Theodosian dynasty. Valens, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire was killed in the Battle of Adrianople (9 August 378). He was survived by his wife Albia Dominica and his daughters Anastasia and Carosa. He had however survived his only son, Valentinianus Galates. His nephew Gratian, Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was his heir and assumed control of the Eastern Empire as well. With his younger half-brother Valentinian II as his nominal co-ruler. On 19 January, Gratian declared Theodosius, magister militum per Illyricum, to be his new colleague in the Eastern Roman Empire. Theodosius seems to have been the senior officer of Roman origins available for promotion at the time. Merobaudes and Frigeridus, the two magistri militum in praesenti were probably not considered due to their Germanic origins. Several other equivalent positions remained vacant since the deaths of their last holders in Adrianople. At this point Flacilla became the Empress consort. She was a fervent supporter of the Nicene Creed. Sozomen reports her preventing a conference between Theodosius and Eunomius of Cyzicus who served as figurehead of Anomoeanism, a distinct sect of Arians. Ambrose and Gregory of Nyssa praise her Christian virtue and comment on her role as “a leader of justice” and “pillar of the Church”. Theodoret reports on her works of charity, personally tending to the disabled. She died in 385 (or 386). Her death is mentioned by (among others) Claudian, Zosimus, Philostorgius and Joannes Zonaras. According to the Chronicon Paschale, the palatium Flaccillianum of Constantinople was named in her honor. A statue of her was placed within the Byzantine Senate. She is commemorated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, her feast day being 14 September. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. 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- Ancient Coins: Roman Coins
- Coin Type: Ancient Roman
- Ruler: Aelia Flacilla