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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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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA467. Bronze follis, RIC VI Ticinum 47a, superb EF, weight 11.060 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 304 - 305 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SACRA MONET AVGG ET CAESS NOSTR, Aequitas standing left holding scales in right hand, cornucopia in left, * right, ST in exergue; chocolate patina, superb!; SOLD


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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. Bronze 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. Bronze 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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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA474. Silvered follis, RIC VI Heraclea 17a, Gem EF , weight 10.7 g, maximum diameter 28 mm, die axis 180o, 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 left, patera in right and cornucopia in left, HT∆ in exergue; bold full circle strike on both obverse and reverse, smooth glossy black patina.; SOLD


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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA462. Bronze 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


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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.
RBA463. Bronze 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. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V 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


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RB29284. Silvered follis, RIC VI Cyzicus 12a, EF, weight 11.682 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 297 - 299 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, Genius, naked but for chlamys, modius on head, standing left, pouring libations from patera, cornucopia in left hand, KΓ in ex; silvery patina, full circles centering, large coin!; SOLD


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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. Bronze 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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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA473. Silvered follis, RIC VI Heraclea 17a, EF, bold portrait, weight 10.96 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, 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 left, patera in right and cornucopia in left, HT∆ in ex; 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.
RA67092. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V, part II, 28; Bastien VII 317 (16 examples cited), gVF, near full silvering, weight 3.663 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 7th Issue, spring 290 - 291 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate, helmeted and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI AVGG, Jupiter standing left, nude but for cloak over shoulders, Victory on globe in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, eagle left at feet on left, in exergue; SOLD


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In 301 A.D., Diocletian issued his Edict on Maximum Prices in an attempt to curb inflation.
RB37967. Bronze follis, RIC VI Rome 100a, gVF, weight 11.595 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 300 - 301 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SACRA MON VRB AVGG ET CAESS NN, Moneta standing left, scales in right and cornucopia in left, P and thunderbolt in ex; nice portrait, minor roughness; scarce; SOLD


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

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In 292, General Achilleus was proclaimed emperor in Alexandria. For two years he ruled Egypt. Achilleus did not strike coins in his own name but issued coins in the names of Diocletian, Maximianus, Constantius I, and Galerius. In 294, Diocletian accompanied by the young Constantine I (later the first Christian Emperor) travelled to Egypt, besieged Alexandria, and deposed the pretender.
RX57425. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 5093; Dattari 5804; Kampmann 119.85; Geissen 3260 var (1st officina); BMC p. 327, 2536 var (no officina); SNG Cop 1008; Emmett 4037, gVF, weight 6.218 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 292 - 28 Aug 293 A.D.; obverse ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ENATOV L (year 9), eagle standing left, head turned back right, wings closed, wreath in beak, ∆ (4th officina) in exergue; SOLD


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RB27303. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V 239, EF, flat areas, weight 3.143 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse MARS VICTOR, Mars advancing right holding spear in left hand and trophy across shoulder, VIXXIT in ex; sharp portrait; SOLD


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RA67091. Bronze antoninianus, Bastien VII 401 (3 examples cited), RIC V, Part II, 89; Cohen 445, gVF/F, worn reverse die, weight 3.681 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 7th issue, Spring 290 - 291 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate bust left, wearing imperial mantle, globe in right; reverse SALVS AVGG, Salus standing right, feeding snake from patera, C in exergue; a rare bust type for Diocletian; rare (R3); SOLD


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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA466. Bronze follis, RIC VI Ticinum 43a, superb EF, weight 10.38 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 300 - 303 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SACRA MONET AVGG ET CAESS NOSTR, Aequitas standing left holding scales in right hand, cornucopia in left, ST in ex; near black patina, exceptional bold strike; SOLD


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RBA448. Bronze antoninianus, RIC V 53, aUNC, weight 3.52 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 289 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse IOVI TVTATORI AVGG, Jupiter standing left, Victory on globe in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, eagle left at feet, P in ex; from the Aiello Collection; SOLD


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In 303, Diocletian launched the last major persecution of Christians in the Empire. They were forbidden to worship in groups, and thousands of Christians were killed during the next 10 years.
RB67093. Silvered follis, RIC VI Londinium 28a, aEF, well centered and struck, near full silvering, weight 10.565 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 225o, Londinium (London, England) mint, 303 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over left shoulder, patera in right, cornucopia in left; SOLD


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A sum of Greek numerals E (5) and ∆ (4) is used to indicate the 9th officina in order to avoid using Θ (9). Because they sound alike, theta (Θ) was associated with Thanatos, the daemon personification of death. Theta used as a warning symbol of death, in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times. It survives on potsherds used by Athenians voting for the death penalty. Also, after a funeral "Nine Days of Sorrow," were solemnly observed by the family. Romans avoided the use of theta, as we avoid the use of the number 13 today.
RB71730. Bronze antoninianus, RIC V 322, Cohen VI 34, EF, perfect centering, excellent portrait, weight 4.274 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 293 - 295 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM, Diocletian receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter, E∆ (officina 9) in center, XXI in exergue; SOLD


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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA460. Bronze follis, RIC VI Rome 98a, Choice EF, weight 9.4 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 300 - 301 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SACRA MONET VRB AVGG ET CAESS NN, Aequitas standing left holding scales and cornucopia, P thunderbolt in exergue; SOLD


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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA447. Bronze antoninianus, RIC V 34, EF, weight 3.45 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 292 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI AVGG, Jupiter seated left holding Victory on globe in right and scepter in left, in exergue; SOLD


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From the Aiello Collection.
RBA475. Silvered follis, RIC VI Heraclea 17a, Choice gVF, weight 10.05 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, 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 left, patera in right and cornucopia in left, HTΓ in ex; SOLD


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Aquileia was founded by the Romans as a Latin colony in 181 B.C. in the north-eastern corner of the plain of the Po at the northern end of the Adriatic. It grew to become one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Roman Empire. After the city was destroyed by Attila the Hun in A.D. 453, the survivors clustered in a drastically reduced settlement around the Basilica, which is the origin of the small present-day town. Most of the ancient city lies unexcavated beneath the surrounding fields.
RB54373. Silvered follis, RIC VI Aquileia 29a, VF, weight 8.418 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 180o, Aquileia mint, 300 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SACRA MONET AVGG ET CAESS NOSTR, Moneta standing left, scales in right and cornucopia in left, AQP in ex; nearly full and unusually heavy silvering; SOLD


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Quies is the personification of rest and retirement. This coin honors the Senior Emperors Diocletian and Maximian after their abdication in 305 A.D. The obverse dedicates the coin, "to our lord Diocletian the most happy senior emperor." The reverse translates, "By the providence of the gods, the restful retirement of the Emperors."
RBA477. Bronze follis, RIC VI Antioch 89, Choice VF, weight 11.190 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, issued after abdication, 308 A.D.; obverse D N DIOCLETIANO BAEATISSIMO SEN AVG, laureate bust right in consular robe holding olive branch in right and mappa in left; reverse PROVIDENTIA DEORVM QVIES AVGG, Providentia standing right extending right hand to Quies standing left holding branch in right and leaning on scepter with left, A in center, ANT in exergue; from the Aiello Collection; SOLD


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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.
RB16898. Bronze follis, RIC VI 108a, Bastien XI 316, EF, weight 9.327 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 302 - 304 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse GENIO POP-VLI ROMANI, Genius, naked but for chlamys, modius on head, standing left, pouring libations from patera over altar, cornucopia in left hand, A right, PLC 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.
RB43294. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V 67, Bastien 365, EF, weight 4.147 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 290 A.D.; obverse IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse PAX AVGG, Pax standing left, Victory on globe in right hand, long scepter transverse in left, B? in ex; full silvering; rare; SOLD


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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.
RB57040. Bronze follis, RIC VI Antioch 56a, Choice VF, sandy patina, weight 9.761 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 302 - 303 A.D.; obverse IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, Genius standing left, pouring libations from patera in right, cornucopia in left, Γ in right field, ANT* in ex; SOLD


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In late summer 285, Diocletian defended the Danube against Sarmatian raids. He transferred his capital to Nicomedia (in Turkey).
BB70943. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V 325, gVF, much silvering remaining, weight 4.088 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 285 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG, Emperor (on left) and Jupiter standing confronted, Emperor holding parazonium, Jupiter presenting Victory on a globe offering wreath and holding long scepter vertical behind in left, crescent with horns up over A in center, XXI in exergue; ex Harlan J. Berk; 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).
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. V. Diocletian (Reform) to Zeno. (Oxford, 1982).

Catalog current as of Friday, July 03, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Diocletian