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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; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


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

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On 1 March 293, Diocletian and Maximian appointed Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as Caesars. This is considered the beginning of the Tetrarchy, known as the Quattuor Principes Mundi ("Four Rulers of the World"). The four Tetrarchs established their capitals close to the Roman frontiers:
- Nicomedia (northwestern Asia Minor) became capital for Diocletian
- Mediolanum (Milan, near the Alps) became the capital for Maximian
- Augusta Treverorum (Trier, in Germany) became the capital for Constantius Chlorus
- Sirmium (Serbia, on the Danube border) became the capital for Galerius

RP89901. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5787; Geissen 3264; BMC Alexandria p. 327, 2541; Milne 5065; Curtis 2034; Kampmann 119.84; Emmett 4084.9 (R2), Choice gVF, well centered, dark toning, obverse legend a bit blundered, weight 8.228 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 292 - 28 Aug 293 A.D.; obverse ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse ENA/TOY / L (year 9) in three lines within a wreath, A in exergue; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


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

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In Roman mythology, Jupiter or Jove was the king of the gods, and god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon.
RX89556. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5774; Milne 4762; Curtis 2043; Geissen 3222; BMC Alexandria p. 321, 2474; Emmett 4087; Kampmann 119.24, VF, dark brown tone with attractive turquoise highlighting, tiny edge crack, weight 8.181 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 287 - 28 Aug 288 A.D.; obverse A K Γ OYA ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Jupiter standing half left, naked but for cloak over left shoulder, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, eagle at feet, date B / L (year 2) right; ex Forum (2010); $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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

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Elpis was the Greek personification of Hope. According the Hesiod's famous story, Elpis was the last to escape the Pandora's box. It can be debated whether she was really about "hope" as we understand it, or rather mere "expectation." In art, Elpis is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, and raising a fold of her dress with her left hand. Elpis' Roman equivalent was Spes. She was also named "ultima dea" - the last resort of men.
RX89903. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5680; BMC Alexandria p. 324, 2505 (nothing in ex.); Kampmann 119.99; Emmett 4046.10; Geissen -; Milne -; SNG Cop -, Choice VF, well centered, brown tone, flow lines, reverse die wear, edge cracks, weight 7.005 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 293 - 28 Aug 294 A.D.; obverse ∆IOKΛHTIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Elpis standing left, flower in right hand, raising fold of chiton with left hand, L - I (year 10) across fields, ∆ (4th officina) in exergue; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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; $45.00 (€39.60)
 


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; $45.00 (€39.60)
 


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; $5.00 (€4.40)
 







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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 Wednesday, July 17, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Diocletian