Roman AE of Theodosius I (AD379-395) NGC (VF)
Born in Spain in about 346, Theodosius was selected by Gratian to assume command of the army, was elevated to Eastern Emperor in 379, and assumed control of both East and West upon the death of his brother-in-law Valentinian II in 392. The last three years of his reign comprise the last time a single Emperor would rule both halves of the Roman Empire. He is a key figure in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, rooting out the last of the pagans and ending the Arian movement, both of which he considered heresies, and establishing Nicene Christianity as the official state religion. He is renowned for undergoing eight months of penance, as prescribed by St. Ambrose, to atone for his massacre of some 7,000 citizens of Thessalonica in 390.