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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Galerius: demoted from IN(V) AVG to IVN AVG 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Galerius: demoted from IN(V) AVG to IVN AVG  (Read 54 times)
Congius
Procurator Caesaris
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« on: September 15, 2020, 01:36:43 pm »

I just got top coin today - not a thing of beauty, but nonetheless a significant upgrade on the one I had before !

This is RIC VI Lyons 254 for Galerius, dating to 307-308 AD.

A quick recap of the history here, for those unfamiliar ...

At the end of the 3rd century, with the empire's defences crumbling at the edges, Diocletian forms the "rule of four" Tetrarchy to bring things under control. Under this system there would be two augusti (initially Diocletian and Maximian) and two hand picked caesars (initially Galerius and Constantius) who would then replace them once the augusti retired. Rinse and repeat. The traditonal system of an emperor being replaced by his son, was now replaced by a system where the emperors-in-waiting (casears) would be chosen based on merit by each generation of augusti.

In 305 Diocletian decides he'd rather be a cabbage farmer (seriously - he talks about it later), so retires and Maximian by prior agreement, retires too (unhappily) at the same time. Initially all is in order and the caesars Constantius and Galerius are made augusti, and appoint a new generation of caesars, Severus II and Maximinus II.

In 306 Constantius dies in battle (at York, Britain), with Constantine by his side. The army - tetrarchy be damned - acclaim Constantine as augustus, and he duly asks Galerius to be recognized as such. Galerius is unhappy, but having raised Constantine (as near hostage) in his court knows he is a capable general, now backed by his father's army, so agrees to the lesser title of caesar.

Maxentius, Maximian's son, watches this all unfold, and is aggrieved himself at not having been able to inherit power from his father. So he now usurps, claiming control of Rome and Carthage, with Maximian happily coming out of retirement as self-styled senior augustus to help him. Galerius is not consulted, nor happy, and makes multiple attempts, to no avail, to reclaim Rome.

In 307 Maximian and Constantine now reinforce their hold on power by forming an alliance. Maximian elevates (by what authority?!) Constantine to augustus, and has him marry his daughter, Fausta, to cement the relationship. Constantine recognizes Maximian on his coins, initially as DN ... S(enior) AVG, later simpler as Imperator.

The stage is now set for this coin ... Constantine's position had changed from initially having to ask Galerius for recognition to now having the upper hand. Between himself, Maximian and Maxentius they now control the whole western empire, including Rome itself, with large armies and resources at their disposal. In 307-308 at the mint of Lyons (due to it's proximity to Italy, perhaps) Constantine confidently asserts his new world order by (RIC VI Lyons 246-285) advertising his Concordia with Maximian, recognizing Maxentius, and honoring the retired Diocletian as "AETER AVG". But Galerius, the real senior augustus, is not ignored ... Constantine issues coins for him too, with the downright insulting title of junior augustus (IVN AVG), that we see on my new aquisition below, and no "PIVS" or "FELIX" either!

As interesting juxtaposition with this coin, below that is another issued by Constantine (or maybe his father, although Constantine certainly used the title too on RIC 83) from only a year or two earlier at London, flattering Galerius as IN(VICTVS) AVG. How times had changed ... from INV AVG to IVN AVG !

This is one of the things that makes Constantine fun to collect - all the drama of the time, political alliances, enemies, geographic nuances, is all played out on the coins!

Ben


* Galerius Genio Pop Rom Lyons 307-308 (RIC VI Lyons 254 R) IVN AVG 27x25mm 7.41g.jpg (221.07 KB, 800x423 - viewed 5 times.)

* Galerius Genio Popvli Romani London 305-306 (RIC VI London 50 R - Maurice confirmed) PF IN AVG 28x26mm 9.67g.jpg (133.57 KB, 800x401 - viewed 2 times.)
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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: Galerius: demoted from IN(V) AVG to IVN AVG « previous next »
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