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Galeria Valeria. Augusta, AD 293(?)-311. Æ Follis (24.5mm, 6.80 g, 12h). Thessalonica mint, 6th officina. Struck under Galerius, AD 308-310. Laureate, diademed, and draped bust right, wearing necklace / Venus standing left, holding up apple and raising drapery over shoulder; *|ς//•SM•Tς•. RIC VI 34. Green-brown patina. Near EF. Lovely portrait.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group XXVI (11 June 1993), lot 558.

The daughter of Diocletian, Galeria Valeria became a pathetic pawn in the deadly power struggles of the early fourth century AD. Diocletian married her off to his junior emperor, Galerius Caesar, in AD 292 or 293, providing a dynastic link between the two houses. Although they had no children together, the couple seemed compatible and perhaps Valeria helped expand her husband's influence over her father. Although some sources claim she was a closet Christian, she does not appear to have resisted the Great Persecution, masterminded by her husband and implemented by her father. Diocletian's retirement in AD 305 brought her husband to supreme power, but the Tetrarchic system began breaking down almost immediately. In AD 311, Galerius was stricken with a wasting illness and, on his deathbed, asked his co-emperor Licinius I to look after Valeria. But she seems not to have trusted Licinius (for good reason, as it later turned out) and instead sought refuge in the court of Maximinus Daia, who proposed marriage to her. When she refused, Daia confiscated her wealth and banished her to Syria, despite the protests of the retired Diocletian. When civil war brought Daia's downfall in AD 313, she escaped with her mother to Thessalonica, where they remained in hiding until discovered by agents of Licinius in AD 315. Diocletian having died, Licinius cold-bloodedly ordered the execution of Valeria, her mother, and all other living relatives of previous Tetrarchs.