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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
592156
Sale: Triton V, Lot: 2156. Estimate $7500. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002. 
Sold For $10000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CONSTANTIUS I, as Caesar. 293 AD, AV Solidus (5.31 gm). Antioch mint. CONSTAN-TIVS NOB CAES, laureate head right / HERCVLI CONS CAES, Hercules standing facing, head right, resting on club and holding apples and lion's skin; SMAX*. RIC VI 7; Depeyrot 8/3. EF, small bump on edge. ($7500)

When Diocletian devised his new ‘tetrarchy’ system of government, with the object of bringing much-needed stability to the political situation in the Empire, part of his strategy was to create two imperial houses, the ‘Jovians’ and the ‘Herculians’. Idealistic and impractical, like so much of Diocletian's thinking, the plan was to replace the inherently unstable arrangement based on family dynasties. As creator of the new order, he reserved for himself and his junior colleague, the Caesar Galerius, the designation ‘Jovian,’ and they enjoyed the special protection of Jupiter, chief deity of the Roman pantheon. Maximian, the co-emperor in the West, had been one of the Empire's leading generals under Aurelian and Probus, and Diocletian deemed it appropriate that he should head the ‘Herculian’ house. Together with his Caesar Constantius he was under the watchful eye of the hero Hercules, always a favorite with the rulers of Rome. As a result of these designations many of the aureus types of Maximian and Constantius dwell on the theme of Hercules. This aureus from Antioch shows the typically muscular figure of the hero accompanied by a legend which proclaims him as the ‘Protector’. Maximian, and later Constantius, were to have particular need of their divine guardian's assistance in the struggle against the usurpers Carausius and Allectus who had succeeded in detaching the island province of Britain from the rule of Rome.