Roman Empire

Galla Placidia, Western Roman Empress AD 421-450

RIC 1333; Depeyrot 13/3, Extremely Fine

Ravenna, A.D. 422. D N GALLA PLA-CIDIA P F AVG, diademed and draped bust of Galla Placidia right, wearing earrings and a necklace, crowned by the manus Dei. Reverse: SALVS REI-PVBLICAE, Victory seated right on a cuirass, supporting on her knee a shield inscribed with the Chi-Rho monogram, to which she points; R-V//COMOB.

Ex New York Sale XLV (8 January 2019), 297; Aurora Collection (The New York Sale XXXII, 8 January 2014), 67; Bertolami 6 (10 December 2012), 1274; Tkalec (19 February 2001), 405

In AD 414, Honorius granted his half-sister Aelia Galla Placidia to the Visigothic king Ataulf as a means of forming a military alliance, but she was returned after the assassination of her husband in the following year. Honorius forced her into a political marriage again in AD 417, when she was given to Constantius III, the Emperor’s magister militum. She became Augusta when Honorius elevated her husband as co-Emperor in the West, but after the death of Constantius III (AD 421) Galla Placidia was compelled to withdraw to the Eastern Empire in response to rumors of an inappropriate relationship with her half-brother. There she remained until Theodosius II decided to elevate her five-year-old son as Western Emperor in order to oppose the usurper Joannes. She was subsequently restored as regent, ruling on behalf of Valentinian III until AD 437, when he reached maturity and the influence of Aetius, the magister militum per Gallia had become too great.