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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
11100792
CNG 111, Lot: 792. Estimate $500.
Sold for $755. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Diocletian. AD 284-305. AR Argenteus (18mm, 2.89 g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck circa AD 294. Laureate head right / Four tetrarchs sacrificing before city gate with six turrets. RIC VI 27a; Jelocnik 40a; RSC 516†e. EF, attractive iridescent tone, light scratch in margin on obverse.


From the Ealing Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 81 (20 May 2009), lot 1128.

Diocletian (284-305 AD) was one of the most important reformers in the history of the Roman Empire. Following decades of transition, as well as significant political and economic upheaval during the middle part of the third century, Diocletian set about stabilizing the Empire.  His solution was to form a diarchy, with himself taking control of the eastern Empire while his colleague Maximian (286-305 AD) took control of the west.  After several years, Diocletian saw the need to expand this arrangement further and in AD 293 the diarchy became a tetrarchy.  Each senior Augustus took a junior Caesar to assist with matters in their respective half of the Empire: a senior and junior colleague in the West (Maximian and Constantius Chlorus), and a senior and junior colleague in the East (Diocletian and Galerius).  Four tetrarchic capital cities of the Roman Empire were established to help ensure further administrative stability: Nicomedia (the seat of Diocletian) and Sirmium (the seat of Galerius) in the east, and Mediolanum (the seat of Maximian) and Augustus Treverorum (the seat of Constantius Chlorus) in the west.  Diocletian’s new system also ensured a smoother process for the succession than had been seen earlier in the third century and, when he and Maximian retired in AD 305, Galerius and Constantius were raised to the senior rank of Augustus and each took new junior Caesars: Severus II in the West, and Maximinus in the East.  The tetrarchy proved to be a strong arrangement, providing the immediate stability that the Empire needed; it lasted until around AD 313 when Constantine took control of the West and Licinius the East.