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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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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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In 296, Diocletian dispatched his son-in-law Galerius with a large army to Armenia. Galerius then invaded Mesopotamia, but outside Ctesiphon he suffered a complete defeat against the Persian king Narseh. He was forced to retreat across the Euphrates into Syria where he joined Diocletian at Antioch. In 297, Galerius prepared to attack again by recruiting veterans from Illyria and Moesia, and he also strengths his bodyguard with Gothic auxiliaries. In 298, with an army of 25,000 men, Galerius invaded again. At the Battle of Satala, Galerius decisively defeated King Narseh and captured the Persian camp, including Narseh's family, harem and treasure.
RT87673. Copper post-reform radiate, RIC VI Alexandria 47, SRCV IV 12836, Cohen VI 34, Hunter V 116 var, (1st officina), Choice VF, nice portrait, excellent centering and strike, attractive highlighting "desert" patina, weight 3.562 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Alexandria mint, 296 - 297 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Emperor on left, standing right, holding parazonium, receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter, Jupiter on right, standing left, holding long scepter, B low in center, ALE in exergue; $80.00 (€68.00) ON RESERVE


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 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)
 


The Pre-Reform Coinage of Diocletian

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If you order a large group of books or booklets, please select Priority or Express Mail. First Class Mail is limited to envelope size mail. If you think your order may need a box, please select Priority or Express Mail.
BL43186. The Pre-Reform Coinage of Diocletian by Percy H. Webb, Numismatic chronicle reprint series, Attic Books 1977 reprint, paperback pamphlet, 29 pages; $6.00 (€5.10)
 







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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. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume V, Carausius to Romulus Augustus. (London, 1987).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part II, Probus to Amandus. (London, 1933).
Paolucci, R. & A. Zub. La monetazione di Aquileia Romana. (Padova, 2000).
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. 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. & C. Carson. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol VI, From Diocletian's reform to the death of Maximinus. (London, 1967).

Catalog current as of Sunday, November 18, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Diocletian