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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The TetrarchyView Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Coins of the Tetrarchy

Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.

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Galerius was Caesar and tetrarch under Maximianus. Although a talented general and administrator, Galerius is better known for his key role in the "Great Persecution" of Christians. He stopped the persecution under the condition the Christians pray for his return to health from a serious illness. Galerius died horribly shortly after.
SH91317. Silver argenteus, RIC VI Rome 29b (R2), RSC V 219a, Hunter V 14, SRCV IV 14264, Choice VF, well centered, flow lines, nearly as struck but with die wear, weight 3.286 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 294 A.D.; obverse MAXIMIANVS CAES, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVS MILITVM (courage of the soldiers), the four tetrarchs sacrificing over tripod in front of gated enclosure with six turrets; rare; $600.00 (528.00)


Licinius I, 11 November 308 - 18 September 324 A.D.

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Hercules is depicted in the same pose as the Farnese Hercules, a massive marble sculpture, which depicts a muscular yet weary Hercules leaning on his club, which has his lion-skin draped over it. He has just performed the last of The Twelve Labors, which is suggested by the apples of the Hesperides he holds behind his back. The Farnese Hercules is probably an enlarged copy made in the early third century A.D., signed by Glykon, from an original by Lysippos that would have been made in the fourth century B.C. The copy was made for the Baths of Caracalla in Rome (dedicated in 216 A.D.), where it was recovered in 1546. Today it is in Naples National Archaeological Museum. The statue was well-liked by the Romans, and copies have been found in many Roman palaces and gymnasiums. It is one of the most famous sculptures of antiquity, and has fixed the image of the mythic hero in the human imagination.Farnese Hercules

RL91319. Billon follis, cf. Cohen VII 59 (obv. legend), RIC VI 68 (Maximinus II), SRCV IV 15200 (Antioch); references list this rev. for Licinius only at Antioch, Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, superb style, highlighting patina, light marks, scattered minor porosity, weight 5.020 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Nicomedia mint, 313 - 317 A.D.; obverse IMP C VAL LICIN LICINIVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse HERCVLI VICTORI, Hercules leaning right on club, on top of which are lion skins, ∆ left, SMN in exergue; although unpublished in references examined by Forum we know of eight other specimens; rare; $400.00 (352.00)


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO AVGVSTI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Augusti, the Emperors. The figure depicted is the statue of the Spirit of the Roman People which was then in the Roman Forum (it is now lost). The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted.
RT85731. Billon follis, RIC VI Nicomedia 74b, SRCV IV 14830, Cohen VII 29, Hunter V -, Choice EF, much silvering remaining, areas of porosity, weight 4.837 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 312 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genius standing slightly left, nude but for kalathos on head and chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libations from patera in right hand over flaming altar at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand, * over E right, SMN in exergue; $160.00 (140.80)


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.

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RIC lists this type as common but we believe it is scarce and that this bust/officina variety is very rare. We found only one other specimen with this bust from the first officina (on Wildwinds).

About 287, Diocletian assumed the title Iovius and Maximian assumed the title Herculius. The titles were symbolic of their roles: Diocletian-Jove was dominant, responsible for planning and commanding; Maximian-Hercules had the heroic role of completing assigned tasks. Despite the symbolism, the emperors were not actually worshiped as the gods Jupiter and Hercules in the imperial cult. Instead, they were seen as the gods' instruments, imposing the gods' will on earth.
RB87676. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 591, Cohen VI 619, Venra 7680 var. (1 spec., 2nd off.), OCRE_RIC 591 var. (1 spec., bust r.d.c. from behind), Hunter IV -, SRCV IV -, VF, well centered and struck, brown patina, light corrosion, closed edge crack, weight 3.757 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 2nd emission, 2nd phase, Dec 286 - Jan 287 A.D.; obverse IMP C M A VAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, drapery (paludamentum) on far shoulder; reverse VIRTVS AVGVSTORVM (to the courage of the emperors), Hercules standing slightly right, head right, nude but for Nemean Loin's skin over left shoulder and arm, resting right hand on grounded club, bow in left hand, A in left field, XXI in exergue; very rare; $155.00 (136.40)


Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 May 305 A.D.

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RT85652. Bronze denarius communis, RIC VI p. 283, 27a (R2), Cohen VI 547, SRCV IV 12849, gF, well centered, a little rough, edge cracks, weight 1.422 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 294 - 295 A.D.; obverse DIOCLETI-ANVS AVG, laureate head right ; reverse VTILITAS PVBLICA, Utilitas standing facing, head left, hands in drapery; very rare denomination, reverse type and coin; $140.00 (123.20)


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.

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The meaning of the CMH ligature, used at Nicomedia and Cyzicus, is uncertain but it may be a mark of value indicating 48 coins per pound of bronze.
RT85607. Billon follis, Hunter V 32 (also 1st officina), RIC VI Nicomedia 66c, SRCV IV 14827, Cohen VII 34, Choice EF, well centered and struck, sharp detail, traces of silvering, some pin prick pitting, weight 5.651 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 310 - 311 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI CMH (CMH ligate), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, SMNA in exergue; $135.00 (118.80)


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.

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The meaning of the CMH ligature, used at Nicomedia and Cyzicus, is uncertain but it may be a mark of value indicating 48 coins per pound of bronze.
RT85730. Billon follis, Hunter V 36 (also 5th officina), RIC VI Nicomedia 66c, SRCV IV 14827, Cohen VII 34, Choice EF, well centered and struck, some silvering remaining, porosity, weight 7.064 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 310 - 311 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI CMH (CMH ligate), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, SMNE in exergue; $135.00 (118.80)


Licinius I, 11 November 308 - 18 September 324 A.D.

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Very unusual mint error! Poor letter spacing on the reverse forced the engraver to make the final two letters extraordinarily small and curve back up to the exergue line. On many examples of this type the last two letters extend into the exergue to the mintmark. This engraver had his own idea of how to handle the problem.
RL89684. Billon follis, Hunter V 170 (also 2nd officina), RIC VII Cyzicus 9, SRCV IV 15237, Cohen VII 114, Choice gVF, bold well centered strike, some silvering, weight 3.196 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 317 - 320 A.D.; obverse IMP LICINVS P F AVG, consular bust left, mappa in right hand, globe and scepter in left hand; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG (to Jove the protector of the two Emperors), Jupiter standing left, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, long scepter in left hand, wreath lower left, B right, SMK in exergue; ex Beast Coins; $120.00 (105.60)


Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 May 305 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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On 1 March 293, Diocletian and Maximian appointed Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as Caesars. This is considered the beginning of the Tetrarchy, known as the Quattuor Principes Mundi ("Four Rulers of the World"). The four Tetrarchs established their capitals close to the Roman frontiers:
- Nicomedia (northwestern Asia Minor) became capital for Diocletian
- Mediolanum (Milan, near the Alps) became the capital for Maximian
- Augusta Treverorum (Trier, in Germany) became the capital for Constantius Chlorus
- Sirmium (Serbia, on the Danube border) became the capital for Galerius

RP89901. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5787; Geissen 3264; BMC Alexandria p. 327, 2541; Milne 5065; Curtis 2034; Kampmann 119.84; Emmett 4084.9 (R2), Choice gVF, well centered, dark toning, obverse legend a bit blundered, weight 8.228 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 292 - 28 Aug 293 A.D.; obverse ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse ENA/TOY / L (year 9) in three lines within a wreath, A in exergue; $120.00 (105.60)


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.

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This coin is universally described with Maximian raising his empty right hand but on all of the five examples known to Forum, including this coin, he holds an olive branch in his right hand and a mappa in his left hand.
RT85653. Billon half follis, RIC VI Alexandria 91b (S) corr. (no olive branch or mappa), SRCV IV 13419, Hunter V -, Cohen VI -, Choice aEF, well centered and struck, edge cracks, weight 3.001 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Alexandria mint, c. early - mid 308 A.D.; obverse D N MAXIMIANO FELICISS, laureate bust right, wearing imperial mantle, olive branch in right hand, mappa in left hand; reverse PROVIDENTIA DEORVM (foresight of the Gods), Providentia, draped, standing right, extending right hand to Quies; Quies, draped, standing left, holding branch in right hand and leaning on scepter with left hand, ∆ lower center, ALE in exergue; rare; $105.00 (92.40)




  







Catalog current as of Friday, July 19, 2019.
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The Tetrarchy