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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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Diocletian created the tetrarchy to provide leadership for the armies defending against threats across the great expanse of the Roman Empire. Around the time this coin was struck, the two emperors and two caesars faced Franks in Britain, Berbers and Frankish Pirates in Mauritania, a rebellion in Egypt, and Sasanians in Armenia and Persia.
SH87290. Silver argenteus, Hunter V 34 (also 2nd officina), RIC VI Rome 40a (S), RSC V 516†g, cf. SRCV IV 12617 (Siscia, Rome issue noted), Choice EF, mirror luster, perfect centering, nice portrait, radiating flow lines, slightest die wear, weight 3.281 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, 295 - 297 A.D.; obverse DIOCLETIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVS MILITVM (courage of the soldiers), two emperors and two caesars sacrificing over a tripod before archway of six-turreted enclosure, B in exergue; scarce; $800.00 (€680.00)
 


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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; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


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This reverse legend occurs only on coins of Diocletian, Maximian, and Claudius Gothicus.
RA87274. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 167, Hunter IV 26, SRCV IV 12673, Cohen VI 289, F, excellent centering on a broad flan, traces of silvering, strike weak/flat in centers, small green encrustations, weight 3.758 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, c. 286 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI FVLGERATORI (to Jupiter the Thunderer), Jupiter standing facing, head right, naked but for cloak fluttering over left arm, right foot drawn back in act to hurl thunderbolt, which is raised up in right hand; eagle at feet on left, standing left, head right; XXIB in exergue; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Lot of 5 Choice VF Radiate Bronze Coins with Desert Patina - Roman Tetrarchy, c. 284 - 324 B.C.

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LT87357. Bronze Lot, 5 Tetrarchy radiate bronzes (antoniniani or post-reform radiates), 20.6 - 22.9 mm, all choice VF, with nice "desert" patinas, no specific identification, no tags or flips, the lot is the actual coins in the photograph; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


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

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In 289, Diocletian gained several victories along the Danube against the Sarmatians. He was awarded the honorable title of Sarmaticus Maximus.
RA85646. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 239; SRCV IV 12675, Cohen VI 297, Hunter IV 32, Bastien 143, Choice EF, well centered and struck, much silvering, light encrustations, weight 4.206 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 287 - 289 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI TVTATORI AVGG, Jupiter standing left, victory on globe in right hand, leaning on long scepter vertical behind in left hand, eagle left at feet on left, P in exergue; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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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 Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman People. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RT86663. Billon follis, RIC VI Siscia 95a, SRCV IV 12779, Cohen VI 101, Hunter V -, Choice gVF, excellent portrait, full circles centering, some slivering, small encrustations, slightly flat centers, weight 9.510 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, c. 296 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POP-V-LI ROMANI, Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, modius on head, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, *SIS in exergue, A in right field; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $75.00 (€63.75)
 


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

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Eirene, or Irene (Greek for peace; the Roman equivalent was Pax), was the personification of peace and wealth, and of the spring season. Most references describe the object in Eirene's right hand as an olive branch but Copenhagen says ears of corn. We believe it might also be either a torch or rhyton, both are objects often held by Eirene.
RX86242. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 4925, BMC Alexandria 2495, SNG Cop 996, Geissen 3248 var., Curtis 1979 var., SNG Milan 2190 var., Emmett 4045/6 (all var. date arrangement), VF, brown patina, well centered and struck obverse, reverse slightly off center, spots of corrosion, edge cracks, weight 6.983 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 289 - 28 Aug 290 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYA ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse Eirene standing slightly left, head left, olive branch in right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, LS (year 6) left; $60.00 (€51.00)
 


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

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On 1 April 286, Diocletian elevated his friend Maximian to co-emperor, giving him the title Augustus. Diocletian divided the empire in two, after economic and military problems. He gave Maximian control over the Western Roman Empire and appointed himself ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire (later known as the Byzantine Empire).
RX86252. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 3233, Dattari 5758, Kampmann 119.31, Milne 4839, Curtis 2028, SNG Milan 2177, SNG Cop 985, BMC Alexandria 2525, Emmet 4082/3, VF, well centered, green patina, buff earthen highlighting, edge crack, weight 8.482 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 286 - 28 Aug 287 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYA ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ETOYC Γ (year 3), Tyche standing left, kalathos on head, rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, star right; $60.00 (€51.00)
 


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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-2 28; Cohen VI 153; Hunter IV 33 var. (bust), VF, weight 2.785 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, 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, A in exergue; ex Harlan J. Berk; $40.00 (€34.00)
 


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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 (54 spec.); RIC V-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, 8th emission, 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; $36.00 (€30.60)
 




  



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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, August 20, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Diocletian