Coin of Aelia Flaccilla

Type: Coins
Date: 378–383
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Turkey
Medium: Gold
Dimensions: 2.1 cm diam.
Description: Aelia Flaccilla (356–386) was the wife of Theodosius I, the ruler of the Roman Empire. She was born in Spain and married Theodosius, also from Spain, who came to power after defeating the Visigoths. After the death of Theodosius the empire was permanently divided into eastern and western halves, each ruled by one of their two sons. Contemporaries praised Aelia Flaccilla for her Christian piety, and she is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Aelia Flaccilla was the first empress represented on coins after a fifty-year gap, since the female relatives of Constantine. On the obverse of this gold solidus, the empress is shown in profile wearing elaborate jewelry. She is flanked by her name and title—"Augusta," not awarded since Constantinian times—in Latin. On the reverse, a winged personification of Victory supports a shield with the chi-rho (Christogram) emblem atop a column. The Christian symbol is thus connected with imperial victory. The inscription "Salus Reipublicae" means "safety (or welfare) of the State"; "Conob" means the coin was minted in Constantinople. The chi-rho also ties the Theodosian dynasty to that of Constantine, who first used the Christogram on his own coins.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 2
Image Credits: American Numismatic Society

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Gold coin of Aelia Flaccilla, reverse, ANS 1977.158.929