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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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In 303, Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding the legal rights of Christians and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. About 3,000 Christians died in the persecutions, many more were imprisoned and tortured, but most Christians avoided punishment.
RBA468. Billon follis, RIC VI Rome 105a, EF, weight 9.51 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 302 - 303 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SAC MON VRB AVGG ET CAESS NN, Aequitas standing left holding scales in right hand, cornucopia in left, * right, RP in exergue; from the Aiello Collection; SOLD


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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA469. Billon follis, RIC VI Siscia 134a, Superb near UNC, weight 9.41 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 301 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SACRA MON VRB AVGG ET CAESS NOSTR, Aequitas standing left holding scales in right hand, cornucopia in left, * left,Γ right, *SIS in exergue; unmatched sharp details; SOLD


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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.
RBA474. Billon follis, RIC VI Heraclea 17a, Cohen VI 106, SRCV IV 12787, EF, bold full circle strike on both obverse and reverse, smooth glossy black patina, weight 10.7 g, maximum diameter 28 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 296 - 297 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, Genius standing slightly left, head left, naked but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, and modius on head, pouring liquid from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, HT∆ in exergue; from the Aiello Collection; SOLD


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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA462. Billon follis, RIC VI Carthage 31a, Choice EF, weight 9.91 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 180o, Carthage (near Tunis, Tunisia) mint, 299 - 303 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, head laureate right; reverse SALVIS AVGG ET CAES FEL KART, Carthago standing left holding up fruits in both hands, in exergue; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
In 303, Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding the legal rights of Christians and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. About 3,000 Christians died in the persecutions, many more were imprisoned and tortured, but most Christians avoided punishment.
RBA463. Billon follis, RIC VI Carthage 31a, superb EF, weight 11.100 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Carthage (near Tunis, Tunisia) mint, 299 - 303 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SALVIS AVGG ET CAES FEL KART, Carthago standing left holding up fruits in both hands, in exergue; from the Aiello Collection; SOLD


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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.
RB11079. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 306; Cohen VI 33, Choice EF, weight 4.583 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 284 - 294 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM, Diocletian standing right, receiving Victory from from Jupiter standing left, holding long scepter behind in left, E in center, XXI in exergue; full silvering, nice strike with great centering; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
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.
RB72653. Billon follis, RIC VI Alexandria 30a, Cohen VI 101, SRCV IV 12803, Choice gVF, full circles strike, some silvering remains, weight 11.794 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Alexandria mint, c. 300 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPV-L-I ROMANI, Genius standing left, kalathos on head, nude but for cloak over shoulders and left arm, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, XXI (mark of value, 20 denarii communes = 1 follis) lower left, Γ (3rd officina) right, ALE (Alexandria) in exergue; ex Romanorum; $150.00 (€0) ON RESERVE


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In late summer 285, Diocletian defended the Danube against Sarmatian raids and transferred his capital to Nicomedia (Turkey).
RA71713. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 323, Cohen VI 146, Choice aEF, weight 3.585 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 285 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, facing Hercules standing left, nude, offering Victory on globe and holding wreath in right hand, club and Nemean lion's skin in left, ∆ in center, XXI• in exergue; SOLD


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In 290, Diocletian and Maximian met in Milan, on the five-year anniversary of their rule, to discuss politics and war. Rome had become only the ceremonial capital of the Empire.
RB64528. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part II 27; Cohen 161; Bastien VII 310 (3 examples cited), VF, weight 4.018 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, emission 7, spring 290 - 291A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS P AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust left, spear over shoulder in right, shield in left; reverse IOVI AVGG, Jupiter standing left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, Victory on globe in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, eagle at feet, P in exergue; SOLD


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This coin refers to the good fortune provided by Carthage to the emperors. When the Nile floods were deficient and Egypt suffered scarcity, Roman ships importing wheat steered for Carthage, from which they brought back a sufficient supply to the eternal city.
RB37998. Silvered follis, RIC VI Carthage 31a, EF, weight 9.943 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Carthage (near Tunis, Tunisia) mint, 299 - 303 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, head laureate right; reverse SALVIS AVGG ET CAES FEL KART, Carthago standing left holding up fruits in both hands, in exergue; some minor flat-strike areas; SOLD




    




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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 Thursday, September 03, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Diocletian