Roman Empire

Johannes, Western Roman Emperor AD 423-425

RIC 1901; Depeyrot 12/1, Superb Extremely Fine

Ravenna. D N IOHAN-NES P F AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Johannes right. Reverse: VICTORI-A AVGGG, emperor standing facing, head right, holding vexillum and victory on globe, foot on bound captive; R-V//COMOB.

Ex S. C. Markoff Collection (NAC 62, 6 October 2011), 2123; Ponterio 141 (12 January 2007), 1749

At the death of Honorius (AD 423), Joannes, the former primicerius notariorum (chief civil servant) of the Western Emperor was proclaimed emperor in Rome. He hoped to gain recognition from Theodosius II, the Eastern Emperor, but found himself severely disappointed when the latter instead recognized the young Valentinian III as Augustus in the West. Realizing that war was looming, Joannes fortified his capital at Ravenna and dispatched the Aetius to negotiate military aid from the Huns. In AD 425, while Aeitius was away, the forces of Theodosius II reached Italy and took Ravenna, and captured Joannes. The defeated usurper was taken to Aquileia where he was paraded through the hippodrome with one hand cut off before he was finally executed.