The Division of Rome, Three Coin Collection

Date: c. 379 - 423 CE
Eastern & Western Rome

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Item Description:

This collection includes three Roman bronze coins, known as maiorinas, and were minted under three emperors during the final division of the empire into Eastern and Western halves:

  • Theodosius I (the Great): The last emperor to rule over the entire empire
  • Honorius: Son of Theodosius I, and the first emperor of the Western Roman Empire
  • Arcadius: Son of Theodosius I, and the first emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire

Though the Roman Empire had already been split and reunited many times before, Theodosius I was the last emperor to rule it in its entirety. In 395 CE, following Theodosius' death, Rome once again separated into two distinct entities: the Western Roman Empire, governed from the city of Rome, and the Eastern Roman Empire, with Constantinople as its capital. The sprawling empire had become hard to defend and govern from any one city, as it stretched from the British Isles to the Middle East.

Theodosius' sons, Honorius and Arcadius, would inherit these separate territories. Honorius, ruling the Western Empire, faced relentless invasions by Germanic tribes. This would lead to the sacking of Rome in 410 CE, a shocking event symbolizing the Western Empire's vulnerability. In contrast, Arcadius' Eastern Roman Empire, the precursor to the Byzantine Empire, maintained relative stability and continuity, preserving much of Roman and Hellenistic traditions.

Under Honorius, the Western Roman Empire experienced a steady decline, marked by internal strife and external pressures, culminating in its eventual fall in the late 5th century. Arcadius' reign in the East, while more stable, was characterized by political intrigue and the increasing influence of powerful court officials and the military.

The coins in this collection come from both sides of this transitionary period of Roman history. Though larger bronze coins from this era are often called maiorinas in modern times, it's not known what the original ancient Roman name for these coins would have been. Each coin is about 20mm in diameter and features the portrait of the emperor on the obverse.

Each coin comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.


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