AE3 of Arles. Struck A.D.367-375.
Obverse: D N GRATIANVS AVGG AVG. Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Gratian facing right.
Reverse: GLORIA NOVI SAECVLI. Gratian standing facing, head left, holding labarum and leaning on shield; in exergue, TCON.
RIC IX : 15. 2.9gms.
The AVGG AVG in this unusual obverse legend alludes to Gratian's right to the succession. The question of his succession arose because, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, when Valentinian I lay ill and had not named a successor, the soldiers planned on raising a candidate of their own choosing. Valentinian, however, recovered and quickly raised Gratian to the position of Augustus to ensure his dynastic position. The reverse inscription is also in connection with this elevation and indicates that Gratian is destined to fulfill the Messianic prophecy of the Sybilline books, so bringing in a golden era of justice and plenty.