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Priscus Attalus – 409-10/14-15 AD

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Priscus Attalus

PriscusAttalus AU

409-410 AD

Puppet Emperor of the Barbarians

Priscus Attalus was the Prefect of Rome during the second siege of Alaric the Visigoth King (409 AD). Alaric threatened to destroy Ostia and all the granaries maintained there and as such caused 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 traveled to Gaul where, four years later, he has 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 to Honorius who later banished him to Lipara.

Monetary System

PriscusAttalus Solidus Siliqua AE4 Denominations

Mints: Rome, Narbonne

Obverse Legends:



Priscus Attalus AV Solidus AR Siliqua AR Half Siliqua AE4

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


Priscus Attalus AR Medallion

The significant 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.

AR 24 Siliqua (72.06 grams)

The Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong