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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Tetrarchy ▸ DiocletianView Options:  |  |  | 

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

Caius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus was a man of humble birth who rose through the Roman military ranks on pure talent. Becoming emperor after the assassination of Carinus, Diocletian introduced many reforms that prolonged the life of the Empire, which was on the verge of total collapse before his reign. These reforms, however, eliminated most personal freedoms and turned much of the population into hereditary serfs. Diocletian was the first Roman emperor to voluntarily abdicate. He lived out his retirement in his palace on the Dalmatian coast, tending his vegetable gardens. His palace went on to become the core of the modern day city of Split.


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Juno was the chief female divinity in the Roman pantheon. She was the wife of Jupiter and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She had many different aspects, such as Juno Regina, Juno Sospita, and Juno Lucina, but here she is depicted as Juno Moneta, holding the scales symbolic of equity and a cornucopia indicating plenty. This surname was given to Juno because she counseled the Romans to undertake only just wars in which case she promised that they would never be in want of money. The first mint in Rome was within the temple of Juno Moneta.
RT84387. Billon follis, RIC VI Treveri 462a, Cohen VI 345; SRCV IV 12807; Hunter V -, VF, nice portrait, well centered on a tight flan, some legend weak, weight 8.569 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 300 - 301 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse M SACRA AVGG ET CAESS NN, Moneta standing slightly left, head left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, star right, ATR in exergue; $95.00 (€84.55)
 


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In 293, Diocletian's Palace was built at a small bay on the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, today's Split, Croatia.
RA71691. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 306; Cohen VI 33; SRCV IV 12635; Hunter IV 60 var. (1st officina), aEF, well centered, light encrustations, weight 4.499 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 293 - 294 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Diocletian standing right, receiving Victory on globe from from Jupiter standing left, holding long scepter behind in left, Γ in center, XXI in exergue; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


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In 293, Diocletian's Palace was built at a small bay on the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, today's Split, Croatia.
RL84203. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 306; Cohen VI 33; SRCV IV 12635; Hunter IV 60 var. (1st officina), Choice VF, excellent centering and strike, silvering, weight 3.422 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 293 - 294 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM• (harmony with the soldiers), Diocletian standing right, receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter standing left, holding long scepter behind in left, Γ in center, XXI• in exergue; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


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

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Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RX79881. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5715; Milne 4857; SNG Milan 2184; SNG Hunterian 4872; BMC Alexandria p. 325, 2519; Kampmann 119.48; Emmett 4064.4; SNG Cop -; Geissen -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, some die wear and damage, edge crack, some light corrosion, weight 7.641 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 287 - 28 Aug 288 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYA ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse Nike advancing right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder, ∆ over L (year 4) on right; $60.00 (€53.40)
 


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In 291, Diocletian signed peace treaties with the kingdoms of Aksum and Nubia.
RA51543. Billon antoninianus, Bastien pl. XXIII, 323a (same obverse die, 39 spec.); RIC V, part 2, 28; Cohen VI 153; Hunter IV 33 var. (bust), VF, weight 2.785 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 290 - 291 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate and mantled bust left, holding eagle-tipped scepter; reverse IOVI AVGG, Jupiter standing left, victory in right, leaning on long scepter in left hand, eagle at feet left, in exergue; ex Harlan J. Berk; $55.00 (€48.95)
 


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In 292, the Roman general Achilleus was proclaimed emperor in Alexandria. For two years he ruled over Egypt, but in 294 his rebellion was crushed by Emperor Diocletian.
RS60443. Billon antoninianus, Bastien 435; RIC V, part 2, 34; cf. Hunter IV 35 (1st officina); SRCV IV 12658 var. (obv. legend), EF, near full silvering, uneven strike, weight 2.795 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 292 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI AVGG, Jupiter seated left, Victory on globe in right hand, long scepter behind in left, uncertain officina letter in exergue; $45.00 (€40.05)
 


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In 293, Diocletian's Palace was built at a small bay on the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, today's Split, Croatia.
RA77808. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 323, Cohen VI 146, Hunter V 72, SRCV IV 12654, VF, well centered, green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, slightly ragged flan, light marks, weight 2.430 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 135o, 3rd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 290 - 294 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOV ET HERCV CONSER AVGG, Jupiter standing right, chlamys over shoulders, globe in right hand, long scepter in left hand, facing Hercules standing left, nude, offering Victory on globe in right hand, club and Nemean lion's skin in left, crescent with horns up above Γ in center, XXI (mark of value) in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $40.00 (€35.60)
 


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In 296, after the Sassanid king Narseh declared war on Rome and invaded Armenia, Diocletian dispatched his son-in-law Galerius with a large army. Galerius was completely defeated near Carrhae and forced to retreat across the Euphrates to join Diocletian at Antioch. At Antioch, Diocletian forced Galerius to walk, still clad in the purple robes of an emperor, a mile in advance of his imperial cart. The message was clear: the loss at Carrhae was not due to the failings of the soldiers, but due to the failings of their commander.
RA77809. Copper post-reform radiate, RIC VI Heraclea 13 or 21, Cohen VI 34, SRCV IV 12833, Hunter V -, VF, green patina, tight flan, earthen deposits, a few scratches, weight 3.110 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 295 - 298 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Diocletian holding parazonium, standing left receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter who is holding a spear, H∆ in center; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $40.00 (€35.60)
 


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

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The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.
RX71176. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4781, Curtis 1954, Geissen 3210, Dattari 5622, Kampmann 119.13, BMC Alexandria 2529, SNG Cop 980, Emmett 4025, VF, green patina, some earthen encrustation, weight 8.691 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 285 - 28 Aug 286 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYAΛ ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Alexandria standing left, wears turreted cap, head of Serapis in right hand, scepter in left hand, L - B (year 2) flanking across field; $36.00 (€32.04)
 







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DIOCLETIANVSAVG
DIOCLETIANVSPAVG
DIOCLETIANVSAVGVSTVS
DIOCLETIANVSPFAVG
DNDIOCLETIANOBAEATIS
DNDIOCLETIANOFELICIS
DNDIOCLETIANOFELICISSIMOSENAVG
DNDIOCLETIANOPFSAVG
IMPCCVALDIOCLETIANVSPFAVG
IMPCDIOCLETIANVSPFAVG
IMPDIOCLETIANVSAVG
IMPDIOCLETIANVSPFAVG


REFERENCES

Bastien, P. Le monnayage de I'atelier de Lyon, Diocletien et ses coregents avant la reforme monetaire (285 - 294). Numismatique Romaine VII. (Wetteren, 1972).
Bastien, P. Le Monnayage de l'Atelier de Lyon, De la Réforme Monétaire de Dioclétien à la fermeture temporaire de l'Atelier en 316 (294 - 316). Numismatique Romaine XI. (Wetteren, 1980).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. Two: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 6: Macrianus to Diocletian & Maximianus. (Paris, 1886).
Depeyrot, G. Les monnaies d'or de Diocletien à Constantin I (284-337). Moneta 1. (Wetteren, 1995).
Gnecchi, F. I Medaglioni Romani. (Milan, 1912).
Jelocnik, A. The Sisak Hoard of Argentei of the Early Tetrarchy. (Ljubljana, 1961).
King, C.E. & D.R. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Mattingly, H., E.A. Sydenham & P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part II, Probus to Amandus. (London, 1933).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. V. Diocletian (Reform) to Zeno. (Oxford, 1982).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. IV: The Tetrarchies and the Rise of the House of Constantine...Diocletian To Constantine I, AD 284 - 337. (London, 211).
Sutherland, R.A.C. & C.H.V. Carson. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VI, From Diocletian's reform to the death of Maximinus. (London, 1967).

Catalog current as of Monday, April 24, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Diocletian