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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Diocletian's price edict 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Maximinvs
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« on: June 15, 2009, 08:44:42 am »

Hi list,
Has anyone on the list taken the time to do a histogram of all of the prices in the Price Edict of Diocletian? I only have price details from a small part of it and I was hoping someone from the list has the entire thing.
Thanks in advance,
Ian
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Gao
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2009, 11:14:57 am »

The Numiswiki article here appears to be all of what survives, from what I can tell.
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cliff_marsland
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 11:38:05 am »

Thanks for the link - I hadn't seen the full list before.  It's interesting how history repeats itself.
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Maximinvs
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 05:28:37 pm »

Thanks for that, but this is only a small fraction of the entire edict. There should be well over a thousand entries in total.
Regards,
Ian
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cliff_marsland
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2009, 12:12:07 am »

Doing a google search, I found a place with a couple more entries; constantine's coins, or something like that..

Diocletian seemed to be relatively well-intentioned, but I think the evidence pointed to that he wrecked what was left of the Roman economy, leaving it in a hole no one could dig out of, with accounts of people fleeing the cities for the countryside, professions became hereditary, etc  It eventually became preferable to live under the barbarians (well, at least some of them).

I got a kick out of the preamble. 

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PeterD
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2009, 05:08:56 am »

The site you want is: http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/edict/
The Edict has survived as several fragments in different places. Not sure if the sum of those fragments amount to any more entries than the ones on the above site.
One thing's for sure: Diocletian was no economist.
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Peter, London

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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2009, 12:18:08 am »

While we're talking about Diocletian, did anyone ever figure out how many "denarii" the original Diocletianic Follis was tariffed at, and the varying values of the debasement?

I usually don't buy coins of that period very often, but at a recent coin show, I bought a really cute small Licinius of the IOVI CONSERVATORI series - I had hand-picked it out of a hoard for its' rosy patina and the fact that it was a perfect miniature of the initial "bull-headed" Folles of 15 years earlier.

It will be a great joy if someone finally figures out the real names of all the later "AE1/2/3/4 of the later periods, too, although some of the names are suspected, like Centenionalis.
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284ad
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2009, 03:53:15 am »


Diocletian seemed to be relatively well-intentioned, but I think the evidence pointed to that he wrecked what was left of the Roman economy, leaving it in a hole no one could dig out of, with accounts of people fleeing the cities for the countryside, professions became hereditary, etc  It eventually became preferable to live under the barbarians (well, at least some of them).


I don't know how true that is. I'm currently working my way through P. Heather's "Fall of Tthe Roman Empire" and I just read a very convincing argument to the contrary.

Recent discoveries have showed that the free peasantry was not taxed to the gunnels in the third and fourth centuries as was previously thought. In fact in most areas except Gaul and Italy levels of rural settlement actually didn't peak until the 4th or 5th century.

Anyway the argument is a whole chapter in this book but it's very convincing and I would recomend reading it.
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Maximinvs
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2009, 08:00:25 pm »

While we're talking about Diocletian, did anyone ever figure out how many "denarii" the original Diocletianic Follis was tariffed at, and the varying values of the debasement?

It will be a great joy if someone finally figures out the real names of all the later "AE1/2/3/4 of the later periods, too, although some of the names are suspected, like Centenionalis.

A vast amount of literature has been written on the subject over the last fifty years or so. Anything written before the 70's however will use an incorrect price for gold (i.e. 50,000dc or 99,000dc/lb instead of the now accepted 72,000dc) and will not take into account the Monetary Edict discovered in the 60's and first published by in 1971. The latter is the fragmentary inscription that records the doubling of the tariff on circulating coinage effective 1st September 301AD and that the new tariff for the argenteus was 100dc. There is another very fragmentary section that probably refers to a 25dc coin (I agree) but others have tried to argue, rather unconvincingly imo, that it refers to a 'radiatus' of 5dc.

It is generally accepted, but not universally so, that the Monetary Edict preceded the Price Edict, and that the doubling of the tariff created the rampant inflation that the Price Edict was intended to counter. That seems to make sense to me. Recently the trend is to date the Price Edict to Nov-Dec 301AD.

Since the post-301AD tariff for the nummus was 25dc then it follows that is was 12.5dc beforehand. This seems a very awkward value and not easily divisible into post-reform radiate fractions, unless of course PRR were 2.5dc each, which is just as awkward. There is a fragmentary papyrus mentioned by Bagnall I think (Currency and Inflation in Fourth Century Egypt, 1985) which mentions an imperial retariff from 12dc to a value that is unfortunately lost. Perhaps the nummus was therefore 12dc from its inception in 294AD until the Monetary Edict, and equivalent to 6 PRRs of 2dc each, and that the Monetary Edict only approximately doubled the tariff to the nearest convenient value, 12>25dc? Who knows, we just don't have irrefutable evidence yet.

Some have claimed a tariff of 5dc for the nummus at its inception, but I cannot accept that. This I think comes from early claims that the XXI & K-V mintmarks on certain Alexandrian, Siscian & Antiochene nummi of 300-301AD was evidence that the nummus was tariffed at 20 sestertii (5 denarii). I am an adherent of the XXI = alloy theory, and see the resurgence of XXI on pre-edict nummi as an attempt by the State to reassert the intrinsic value in the face of inflation. A comparison of the weight ratio of the pre-reform 'aurelianianus' and the nummus (both were struck from similar alloys) then the new nummus must have been tariffed at over 2.7x the tariff of the silvered radiate. Otherwise what would be the point of introducing a new denomination? The State would never have introduced the nummus at a loss. If the aurelianianus was 2dc before 294AD then the nummus would need to be at least 5.4dc to have an equal ratio of face value to intrinsic value. If the aurelianianus was 4dc (which I suspect) then the nummus of 294AD would have been tariffed at at least 10.8dc, i.e. a tariff of ~12dc would give the State ~20% extra denarii communes for the same amount of metal.

Regards,
Ian
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2009, 04:08:21 pm »

Ian, thank you very much for the very informative post. Moving this thread to the Classical Numismatics section.
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2009, 04:39:26 pm »



Since the post-301AD tariff for the nummus was 25dc then it follows that is was 12.5dc beforehand. This seems a very awkward value and not easily divisible into post-reform radiate fractions, unless of course PRR were 2.5dc each, which is just as awkward. There is a fragmentary papyrus mentioned by Bagnall I think (Currency and Inflation in Fourth Century Egypt, 1985) which mentions an imperial retariff from 12dc to a value that is unfortunately lost. Perhaps the nummus was therefore 12dc from its inception in 294AD until the Monetary Edict, and equivalent to 6 PRRs of 2dc each, and that the Monetary Edict only approximately doubled the tariff to the nearest convenient value, 12>25dc? Who knows, we just don't have irrefutable evidence yet.



If so, why Licinius retariff his Jupiter folles to 12.5 and not (the presumably classic) 12?  Of course nothing was forcing Licinius to return to something known from the past, he could have used 13.65 if we wished to, but the fact that the 12.5 is advertised on the coins too seems to be part of the usual Roman propaganda: "back to the good old 12.5 days when life was better"
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