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072 Gordianus-III. (238-244 A.D.), RIC IV-III 301a, AE-Sestertius, Rome, -/-//SC, P M TR P III COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, #175 views072 Gordianus-III. (238-244 A.D.), RIC IV-III 301a, AE-Sestertius, Rome, -/-//SC, P M TR P III COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, #1
avers: IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
reverse: P M TR P III COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, holding the olive branch and resting arm on the lyre, SC belove.
exergue: -/-//SC, diameter: 28,0-29,0mm, weight: 20,61g, axis: h,
mint: Rome, date: 240-241 A.D., ref: RIC IV-III 301a, C-240,
1 commentsquadrans
1301a, Diocletian, 284-305 A.D. (Antioch)89 viewsDIOCLETIAN (284 – 305 AD) AE Antoninianus, 293-95 AD, RIC V 322, Cohen 34. 20.70 mm/3.1 gm, aVF, Antioch. Obverse: IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, Radiate bust right, draped & cuirassed; Reverse: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Jupiter presents Victory on a globe to Diocletian, I/XXI. Early Diocletian with dusty earthen green patina.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Diocletian ( 284-305 A.D.)

Ralph W. Mathisen
University of South Carolina

Summary and Introduction
The Emperor Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (A.D. 284-305) put an end to the disastrous phase of Roman history known as the "Military Anarchy" or the "Imperial Crisis" (235-284). He established an obvious military despotism and was responsible for laying the groundwork for the second phase of the Roman Empire, which is known variously as the "Dominate," the "Tetrarchy," the "Later Roman Empire," or the "Byzantine Empire." His reforms ensured the continuity of the Roman Empire in the east for more than a thousand years.

Diocletian's Early Life and Reign
Diocletian was born ca. 236/237 on the Dalmatian coast, perhaps at Salona. He was of very humble birth, and was originally named Diocles. He would have received little education beyond an elementary literacy and he was apparently deeply imbued with religious piety He had a wife Prisca and a daughter Valeria, both of whom reputedly were Christians. During Diocletian's early life, the Roman empire was in the midst of turmoil. In the early years of the third century, emperors increasingly insecure on their thrones had granted inflationary pay raises to the soldiers. The only meaningful income the soldiers now received was in the form of gold donatives granted by newly acclaimed emperors. Beginning in 235, armies throughout the empire began to set up their generals as rival emperors. The resultant civil wars opened up the empire to invasion in both the north, by the Franks, Alamanni, and Goths, and the east, by the Sassanid Persians. Another reason for the unrest in the army was the great gap between the social background of the common soldiers and the officer corps.

Diocletian sought his fortune in the army. He showed himself to be a shrewd, able, and ambitious individual. He is first attested as "Duke of Moesia" (an area on the banks of the lower Danube River), with responsibility for border defense. He was a prudent and methodical officer, a seeker of victory rather than glory. In 282, the legions of the upper Danube proclaimed the praetorian prefect Carus as emperor. Diocletian found favor under the new emperor, and was promoted to Count of the Domestics, the commander of the cavalry arm of the imperial bodyguard. In 283 he was granted the honor of a consulate.

In 284, in the midst of a campaign against the Persians, Carus was killed, struck by a bolt of lightning which one writer noted might have been forged in a legionary armory. This left the empire in the hands of his two young sons, Numerian in the east and Carinus in the west. Soon thereafter, Numerian died under mysterious circumstances near Nicomedia, and Diocletian was acclaimed emperor in his place. At this time he changed his name from Diocles to Diocletian. In 285 Carinus was killed in a battle near Belgrade, and Diocletian gained control of the entire empire.

Diocletian's Administrative and Military Reforms
As emperor, Diocletian was faced with many problems. His most immediate concerns were to bring the mutinous and increasingly barbarized Roman armies back under control and to make the frontiers once again secure from invasion. His long-term goals were to restore effective government and economic prosperity to the empire. Diocletian concluded that stern measures were necessary if these problems were to be solved. He felt that it was the responsibility of the imperial government to take whatever steps were necessary, no matter how harsh or innovative, to bring the empire back under control.

Diocletian was able to bring the army back under control by making several changes. He subdivided the roughly fifty existing provinces into approximately one hundred. The provinces also were apportioned among twelve "dioceses," each under a "vicar," and later also among four "prefectures," each under a "praetorian prefect." As a result, the imperial bureaucracy became increasingly bloated. He institutionalized the policy of separating civil and military careers. He divided the army itself into so-called "border troops," actually an ineffective citizen militia, and "palace troops," the real field army, which often was led by the emperor in person.

Following the precedent of Aurelian (A.D.270-275), Diocletian transformed the emperorship into an out-and-out oriental monarchy. Access to him became restricted; he now was addressed not as First Citizen (Princeps) or the soldierly general (Imperator), but as Lord and Master (Dominus Noster) . Those in audience were required to prostrate themselves on the ground before him.

Diocletian also concluded that the empire was too large and complex to be ruled by only a single emperor. Therefore, in order to provide an imperial presence throughout the empire, he introduced the "Tetrarchy," or "Rule by Four." In 285, he named his lieutenant Maximianus "Caesar," and assigned him the western half of the empire. This practice began the process which would culminate with the de facto split of the empire in 395. Both Diocletian and Maximianus adopted divine attributes. Diocletian was identified with Jupiter and Maximianus with Hercules. In 286, Diocletian promoted Maximianus to the rank of Augustus, "Senior Emperor," and in 293 he appointed two new Caesars, Constantius (the father of Constantine I ), who was given Gaul and Britain in the west, and Galerius, who was assigned the Balkans in the east.

By instituting his Tetrarchy, Diocletian also hoped to solve another problem. In the Augustan Principate, there had been no constitutional method for choosing new emperors. According to Diocletian's plan, the successor of each Augustus would be the respective Caesar, who then would name a new Caesar. Initially, the Tetrarchy operated smoothly and effectively.

Once the army was under control, Diocletian could turn his attention to other problems. The borders were restored and strengthened. In the early years of his reign, Diocletian and his subordinates were able to defeat foreign enemies such as Alamanni, Sarmatians, Saracens, Franks, and Persians, and to put down rebellions in Britain and Egypt. The easter frontier was actually expanded.

Diocletian's Economic Reforms
Another problem was the economy, which was in an especially sorry state. The coinage had become so debased as to be virtually worthless. Diocletian's attempt to reissue good gold and silver coins failed because there simply was not enough gold and silver available to restore confidence in the currency. A "Maximum Price Edict" issued in 301, intended to curb inflation, served only to drive goods onto the black market. Diocletian finally accepted the ruin of the money economy and revised the tax system so that it was based on payments in kind . The soldiers too came to be paid in kind.

In order to assure the long term survival of the empire, Diocletian identified certain occupations which he felt would have to be performed. These were known as the "compulsory services." They included such occupations as soldiers, bakers, members of town councils, and tenant farmers. These functions became hereditary, and those engaging in them were inhibited from changing their careers. The repetitious nature of these laws, however, suggests that they were not widely obeyed. Diocletian also expanded the policy of third-century emperors of restricting the entry of senators into high-ranking governmental posts, especially military ones.

Diocletian attempted to use the state religion as a unifying element. Encouraged by the Caesar Galerius, Diocletian in 303 issued a series of four increasingly harsh decrees designed to compel Christians to take part in the imperial cult, the traditional means by which allegiance was pledged to the empire. This began the so-called "Great Persecution."

Diocletian's Resignation and Death
On 1 May 305, wearied by his twenty years in office, and determined to implement his method for the imperial succession, Diocletian abdicated. He compelled his co-regent Maximianus to do the same. Constantius and Galerius then became the new Augusti, and two new Caesars were selected, Maximinus (305-313) in the east and Severus (305- 307) in the west. Diocletian then retired to his palace at Split on the Croatian coast. In 308 he declined an offer to resume the purple, and the aged ex-emperor died at Split on 3 December 316.

Copyright (C) 1996, Ralph W. Mathisen, University of South Carolina
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

1 commentsCleisthenes
270a27 viewsAurelian 270-5 AD
AE antoninianus
Cyzicus mint
Radiate and cuirassed bust right
Neptune standing left holding dolphin
RIC 324; Gőbl 301a
301a. Maximus Caesar80 viewsMaximus Caesar AS / Sacrificial Implements

Attribution: RIC IV 7 S
Date: 235-236 AD
Obverse: C IVL VERVS MAXIMVS CAES, bust r.
Reverse: PIETAS AVG, lituus, knife, patera, vase, simpulum, and sprinkler, SC in ex.
Size: 26.3 mm
Weight: 9.8 grams
Description: A nice and scarcer sestertius with attractive detail
ABM3014 viewsAdrianus
Artabanos IV., 216 - 224 AD23 viewsAR dr., 3,45gr, 19,7mm; Sellwood 90.1, Shore 464, Sunrise 462 (Artabanos VI., 212-224/7) ;
mint: Ekbatana; axis: 12h;
obv.: head, left, w/tiara and 3-layer diadem, double loop, 2 ribbons, and neck flap; over the crest of the tiara a row of 16 pellets on stalks, under the crest a row of dots, a six point star on the side, ear flap w/5 pellets; mustache, med.-long forked beard; large eye, molded cheek; double necklace w/row of pellets in the center (?); complete dotted border;
rev.: archer, right, on throne, w/bow in one extended hand and monogram X w/top bar below bow; archer has 2 legs; throne seat as ⊼; peculiar vertical line behind throne (upholstered back?); 4 lines of legend visible (the top line in Aramaic/Pahlavi ), the showing 3 lines in ‘Greek’;

ex: Baldwin’s Auction 90 (09/14), #1272 (The David Sellwood Collection).
Diocletian AE Follis10 viewsAlexandria mint, 301AD,
RIC 32a
10,01 gr - 26 mm
Samson L2
Diocletian Billon Follis (300-301AD)34 viewsDiocletian Billion Follis circa 300-301AD
Ticinum mint 12.25gm
Laureate head (r)
Moneta standing left holding scales and
Cornucopiae. ST in exgergue
Ric 43a
sean c2
Domitian RIC 301a7 viewsAs, 85
Laur. r.
Moneta standing l., holding scales and cornucopiae.
28mm, 11.83g
Galerius, Follis, GENIO POPVLI ROMANI9 viewsAE Follis
Caesar: 293 - 305AD
Augustus: March 1, 205 - May 5, 311AD
Issued: 300 - 301AD
27.0mm 9.60gr 6h
O: GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES; Laureate head, right.
R: GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI; Genius standing left, modius on head, chlamys over shoulder, holding patera and cornucopiae.
Exergue: (Dot) TSA (Dot)
Thessalonica Mint
RIC VI Thessalonica 22b, A.
Aorta: B18, O13, R42, T43, M14.
sjbcoins/Stoian Belkin 162939022023 Inv. # M2324
3/18/18 3/26/18
Nicholas Z
Jean II, dit Jean le Bon, Roi de France (1350-1364) - Blanc3 viewsBlanc au châtel, argent, 2,18 g.
Av./ IOhAnnES REX // +BnDICTV SIT nOmE DnI nRI DEI IhV XPI, croix .
Rv./ TVRONVS CIVIS, châtel tournois sommé d'un lis, meublé de trois besants. Bordure extérieure de douze lis dans des oves .
Réfs : Dup. 301a
ROMAN EMPIRE, Gordian III, Rome mint, struck 240-241 AD, AE Sestertius22 viewsGORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG laureate-headed and draped bust right
PM TR P III COS II PP, SC Apollo seated left
RIC 301a, Cohen 240
[301aby] Alexander III, The Great, 336-323 BC, AR Drachm (Lifetime Issue)65 viewsAlexander III, 336-323 BC, Silver Drachm; Minted during lifetime of Alexander the Great. Price-1503, Müller-907, struck 328-323BC at Abydus, 4.27 grams, 17.3 mm. Nice VF. Obverse: Head of young Herakles facing right, clad in lion's skin; Reverse: Zeus enthoned facing left, holding eagle and sceptre, his legs are parallel and resting on a stool, Hermes standing facing left in left field, monogram beneath throne. A very nice specimen of a lifetime drachm of Alexander III 'the Great' with Hermes as the mint symbol in the left field of the reverse. Just a touch of wear on both surfaces, but still quite attractive. Ex Glenn W. Woods.

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do
so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached
epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his
description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

[301a] Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 283 B.C.181 viewsPTOLEMY I SOTER AR silver tetradrachm. Alexandria, 290-289 BC. Eagle standing on thunderbolt.

PTOLEMY I SOTER AR silver tetradrachm. 27mm, 13.9g. Struck at Alexandria, 290-289 BC. VF. Obverse: Diademed head of Ptolemy I right; Reverse; PTOLEMAIOU BASILEWS, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, P and PTY monogram to left. Svoronos 259, SNG Cop 72. Banker's mark and some graffito in the reverse fields. Ex Incitatus.

Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaios Soter, i.e. Ptolemy the Savior, 367 BC—283 BC) was a Macedonian general who became the ruler of Egypt (323 BC—283 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. In 305 BC he took the title of king.
He was the son of Arsinoe of Macedonia - either by her husband Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman, or by her lover, Philip II of Macedon (which would make him the half-brother of Alexander the Great if true). Ptolemy was one of Alexander the Great's most trusted generals, and among the seven "body-guards" attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and his intimate friend since childhood. He may even have been in the group of noble teenagers tutored by Aristotle. He was with Alexander from his first campaigns, and played a principal part in the later campaigns in Afghanistan and India. At the Susa marriage festival in 324, Alexander had him marry the Persian princess Atacama. Ptolemy also had a consort queen in Thaïs, the famous Athenian hetaera and one of Alexander's companions in his conquest of the ancient world. Thaïs became his queen in Egypt, and even after he divorced her, she reportedly remained his friend, and kept the title of queen while in Memphis.

When Alexander died in 323, Ptolemy is said to have instigated the resettlement of the empire made at Babylon. Through the Partition of Babylon, he was now appointed satrap of Egypt, under the nominal kings Philip Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV; the former satrap, the Greek Cleomenes, stayed on as his deputy. Ptolemy quickly moved, without authorization, to subjugate Cyrenaica.

By custom, kings in Macedonia asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Probably because he wanted to pre-empt Perdiccas, the imperial regent, from staking his claim in this way, Ptolemy took great pains in getting his hands on the body of Alexander the Great, placing it temporarily in Memphis (a major element for The First War of The Diodochi) . Ptolemy then openly joined the coalition against Perdiccas. Perdiccas appears to have suspected Ptolemy of aiming for the throne himself, and maybe decided that Ptolemy was his most dangerous rival. Ptolemy executed Cleomenes for spying on behalf of Perdiccas — this removed the chief check on his authority, and allowed Ptolemy to obtain the huge sum that Cleomenes had accumulated.
In 321, Perdiccas invaded Egypt. Ptolemy decided to defend the Nile, and Perdiccas's attempt to force it ended in fiasco, with the loss of 2000 men. This was a fatal blow to Perdiccas' reputation, and he was murdered in his tent by two of his subordinates. Ptolemy immediately crossed the Nile, to provide supplies to what had the day before been an enemy army. Ptolemy was offered the regency in place of Perdiccas; but he declined. Ptolemy was consistent in his policy of securing a power base, while never succumbing to the temptation of risking all to succeed Alexander.

In the long wars that followed between the different Diadochi, Ptolemy's first goal was to hold Egypt securely, and his second was to secure control in the outlying areas: Cyrenaica and Cyprus, as well as Syria, including the province of Judea. His first occupation of Syria was in 318, and he established at the same time a protectorate over the petty kings of Cyprus. When Antigonus One-Eye, master of Asia in 315, showed dangerous ambitions, Ptolemy joined the coalition against him, and on the outbreak of war, evacuated Syria. In Cyprus, he fought the partisans of Antigonus, and re-conquered the island (313). A revolt in Cyrene was crushed the same year.

In 312, Ptolemy and Seleucus, the fugitive satrap of Babylonia, both invaded Syria, and defeated Demetrius Poliorcetes ("sieger of cities"), the son of Antigonus, in the Battle of Gaza. Again he occupied Syria, and again—after only a few months, when Demetrius had won a battle over his general, and Antigonus entered Syria in force—he evacuated it. In 311, a peace was concluded between the combatants. Soon after this, the surviving 13-year-old king, Alexander IV, was murdered in Macedonia, leaving the satrap of Egypt absolutely his own master. The peace did not last long, and in 309 Ptolemy personally commanded a fleet that detached the coastal towns of Lycia and Caria from Antigonus, then crossed into Greece, where he took possession of Corinth, Sicyon and Megara (308 BC). In 306, a great fleet under Demetrius attacked Cyprus, and Ptolemy's brother Menelaus was defeated and captured in another decisive Battle of Salamis. Ptolemy's complete loss of Cyprus followed.
The satraps Antigonus and Demetrius now each assumed the title of king; Ptolemy, as well as Cassander, Lysimachus and Seleucus I Nicator, responded by doing the same. In the winter of 306 BC, Antigonus tried to follow up his victory in Cyprus by invading Egypt; but Ptolemy was strongest there, and successfully held the frontier against him. Ptolemy led no further overseas expeditions against Antigonus. However, he did send great assistance to Rhodes when it was besieged by Demetrius (305/304),. Once rescued, the Rhodians instituted a festival to worship Ptolemy as Soter ("saviour").

It is widely accepted by modern scholars that as a result of lifting the siege of Rhodes, Ptolemy I had the name Soter ("saviour") bestowed upon him by the grateful people but this account is found only in the writings of Pausanius who has proven to be inaccurate on other points related to the Ptolomies. Rhodian inscriptions related to the cult of king Ptolemy do not mention it until the first century BC and Diodorus' writings, which are favourable to Ptolemy, do not either. The first mention of the title Soter is by Ptolemy II in 256 BC when he issued coins calling himself “King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy Soter”. Prior to this date coins had read “King Ptolemy son of Ptolemy”. It is speculated that he used the title Soter as propaganda after a series of defeats prior to its first use.

When the coalition against Antigonus was renewed in 302, Ptolemy joined it, and invaded Syria a third time, while Antigonus was engaged with Lysimachus in Asia Minor. On hearing a report that Antigonus had won a decisive victory there, he once again evacuated Syria. But when the news came that Antigonus had been defeated and slain by Lysimachus and Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus in 301, he occupied Syria a fourth time.

The other members of the coalition had assigned all Syria to Seleucus, after what they regarded as Ptolemy's desertion, and for the next hundred years, the question of the ownership of southern Syria (ie, Judea) produced recurring warfare between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties. Henceforth, Ptolemy seems to have mingled as little as possible in the rivalries between Asia Minor and Greece; he lost what he held in Greece, but reconquered Cyprus in 295/294. Cyrene, after a series of rebellions, was finally subjugated about 300 and placed under his stepson Magas.

In 285, Ptolemy abdicated in favour of one of his younger sons by Berenice - Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who had been co-regent for three years. His eldest (legitimate) son, Ptolemy Ceraunus, whose mother, Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, had been repudiated, fled to the court of Lysimachus. Ptolemy I Soter died in 283 at the age of 84. Shrewd and cautious, he had a compact and well-ordered realm to show at the end of forty years of war. His reputation for bonhomie and liberality attached the floating soldier-class of Macedonians and Greeks to his service, and was not insignificant; nor did he wholly neglect conciliation of the natives. Ptolemy also founded the cult of Serapis, an Egyptian god who was "recreated" in such a fashion that he was acceptable to the Greeks and Macedonians. Ptolemy initiated the building of the lighthouse off the coast of Alexandria on the island of Pharos. This was to become one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

He was a ready patron of letters, founding the Great Library of Alexandria. He himself wrote a history of Alexander's campaigns that has not survived. This used to be considered an objective work, distinguished by its straightforward honesty and sobriety. However, Ptolemy may have exaggerated his own role, and had propagandist aims in writing his History. Although now lost, it was a principal source for the surviving account by Arrian of Nicomedia.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
2 commentsCleisthenes
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