Priscus Attalus – 409-10/14-15 AD

Priscus Attalus

409-410 AD

Puppet Emperor of the Barbarians


Priscus Attalus was Prefect of Rome at the time of the second siege of Alaric the Visigoth King (409 AD). Alaric threatened to destroy Ostia and all the granaries maintained there and as such cause widespread starvation throughout Rome. Alaric used this threat to blackmail the Senate into appointing Priscus Attalus Emperor. Although of noble birth, Priscus was a feeble man content to remain as the puppet of Alaric.

Priscus was deposed one year later in 410 AD due to his incompetence and the city was plundered for three days. Attalus remained in the Gothic camp unharmed. He travelled to Gaul where, four years later, he was proclaimed Emperor once again by Alaric’s successor, Altaulf in 414 AD. Priscus was deposed for a second time in 415 AD and handed over this time to Honorius who later banished him to Lipara.


Monetary System

The large silver multiple of 24 Siliqua was struck in 409 AD and probably represents an accession issue and may have been struck as a desire to present impressive gifts to his German allies.

Mints: Rome, Narbonne

Obverse Legends:

PRISCVS ATTALVS P F AVG
IMP PRISCVS ATTALVS P F AVG


DENOMINATIONS

AU Solidus (4.50 grams)
AU Tremissis (1.35 grams)
AR Miliarense (4.29 grams)
AR Siliqua (1.57 grams)
AR 1/2 Siliqua (0.72 grams)
AE 3

Medallion

AR 24 Siliqua (72.06 grams)


The Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong