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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

 
92150
92, Lot: 150. Estimate $200.
Sold for $125. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

JOHANNES. 423-425 AD. Æ 11mm (1.36 gm). Rome mint. Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Victory advancing left, holding twreath and palm; E//[R M]. RIC X 1910; LRBC -. Fine, black-green patina, earthen highlights. Scarce.

Little is known of the origin and early career of Johannes (John), but at the time of the death of the western emperor Honorius (15 August 423 AD), Johannes occupied a position of great influence as head of the palace bureaucracy in Ravenna. An ‘interregnum’ of several months followed Honorius' death during which the eastern emperor Theodosius II (402-450) was technically the ruler of the entire Empire. On 20 November the situation was dramatically changed by the proclamation of Johannes in Ravenna as emperor of the West. Theodosius refused to countenance this usurpation and decided to support the claim to the western throne of his young cousin, Valentinian, son of the late emperor Constantius III and the empress Galla Placidia. Toward the end of 424 a large army was dispatched from the East with orders to remove Johannes from power and to install Valentinian III as emperor of the West. After various setbacks this task was accomplished and the unfortunate Johannes was taken prisoner in Ravenna and sent to Aquileia for execution. His reign had lasted little more than a year and a half. The rare coinage of Johannes was issued mostly from his capital of Ravenna where at least five denominations were produced. This attractive solidus is of the usual ‘western’ design, with a profile bust of the emperor on the obverse and his standing figure spurning a barbarian captive on the reverse. The portrait depicts the emperor bearded, an unusual feature at this time and one which was sometimes associated with pagan sympathies.