Coins of the 1st Tetrarchy..

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Clavdivs, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Here is a great visual of the divided Empire ..and the shows challenges each Tetrarch faced:

    The 1st Tetrarchy

    The 1st Tetrarchy - March 1, 293 and May 1st, 305 AD

    I really love the large follis from this era and my goal was to obtain a coin of at least 28mm from each Augusti and Caesar, struck during the 1st Tetarchy and to also aim for the nicest portraiture I could afford.

    These coins are plentiful and affordable ... I think this is a nice set for any collector to aim for as the coins are wonderful in hand (much more physically impressive than LRBs) and if you were to be a little forgiving on condition can meet most budgets.

    The complexity of Diocletian’s reforms and the history of the Empire’s emergence from the Crisis of the 3rd Century leads to much reading and investigation. It is a lot to take in and understand – which adds to the value of owning these coins, in my opinion.

    Diocletian 284-305
    OBV: IMP CC VAL DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG, Bust Laureate, right
    REV: GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, Genius standing left, modius on head, naked except for chlamysover left shoulder, holding patera and cornucopiae.
    Cyzicus Mint Struck 295-299AD

    Maximianus 286 to 305

    laureate head right.
    Rev: SALVIS AVGG ET CAESS FEL KART, Carthago standing front,
    looking left, holding fruit in both hands.
    Mintmark B. 29mm, RIC VI Carthage 31b; Sear 13306.

    Constantius I Chlorus, as Caesar
    Reign: As Caesar, A.D. 293-305. Diameter: 29 mm.
    Weight: 9.34 grams. Mint: Cyzicus, c. A.D. 297-299.
    Obverse: Laureate head right.
    Reverse: Genius standing left, holding patera and cornucopia.
    Reference: RIC 11a.

    Galerius, As Caesar
    Reign: A.D. 293-305 (Caesar). Diameter: 28 mm. Weight: 9.33 grams.
    Mint: Cyzicus, c. A.D. 295-296.
    Obverse: Laureate head right.
    Reverse: Genius standing left, holding patera and cornucopia.
    RIC 9b.

    Thank you for looking.. please post your coins of the 1st Tetrarchy….
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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I have Diocletian looking rather more like an alien than one would expect.
  4. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Here's the instigator of the Tetrachy's daughter and wife of Galerius..
    Galeria Valeria married Galerius in 293 AD the year he was elevated to the position of Caesar....
    Galeria Valeria AD 305-311, AE follis of Thessalonica. 27.63mm/ 5.79 grams
    Obverse > GAL VALE-RIA AVG, Diademed bust facing, head right, hair weaved in rows and curled around side of head at base of neck, wearing embroidered robes with two necklaces.
    Reverse > VENERI V-ICTRICI,Venus standing facing, head left, apple in uplifted right hand, raising drapery over left shoulder with left hand. Star in left field,Gamma in right field.
    Mintmark > dot SM dot TS dot. RIC VI #36 Thessalonica ; Officina 3, AD December 308- May 310.
  5. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice selection. Here are some of mine, but not all big folles :

    Diocletian Ae Follis
    Antioch 26 mm 9.29g

    Maximianus Ae nummus
    Roma 18mm 2.58g


    Galerius Ae Follis
    Lugdunum 26mm 10.54g
  6. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    Your coin is not from the tetrarchy though.
    Clavdivs likes this.
  7. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    That must be why. Thanks
    Clavdivs likes this.
  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I always wonder how much is hidden under this roof-tile patina... I am not gonna find out.

    I still really like this coin.

    Ӕ Quinarius.
    Rome, AD 284-305.
    IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right /
    IOVI CONSERVAT AVGG, Jupiter standing left, holding thunderbolt and sceptre.
    RIC 193. 1.46g, 16mm, 12h.
    Near Very Fine, attractive sand patina. Rare.
    Ex: ROMA (their attribution)
  9. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Ancients "Strip Poker" - loser dunks a coin into caustic lye :)
  10. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    I have a few of these (although most not quite 28mm), all from the London mint and most Genio Popvli Romani. I've gone into the 2nd Tetrarchy as the coins are just as large and attractive:

    Diocletian, 26mm, 298-300 (RIC 6a)

    Maximian I, 26mm, 300 (RIC VI 6b)

    upload_2020-7-2_1-31-41.png upload_2020-7-2_1-31-48.png
    Galerius as Caesar, 28mm, 300 (RIC VI# 14a)

    upload_2020-7-2_1-26-29.png upload_2020-7-2_1-26-43.png

    Galerius as Augustus (as previously posted on here!), 26mm, 305-307 (RIC 52b)


    Constantius Chlorus as Caesar, 28mm, 300 (RIC VI# 14a)
    upload_2020-7-2_1-29-59.png upload_2020-7-2_1-30-11.png
    Constantius Chlorus as Augustus, 27mm, 305-306 (RIC VI# 52a), from the Falmouth Hoard


    Severus II as Caesar, 28mm, 305-307 (RIC VI 60)

    Luckily I'm only able to post 10 images or I might go on too long...
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Nice examples, @Clavdivs ! These coins are impressive in hand. Here are some of mine.

    Constantius as Caesar:

    Constantius I, Caesar, 293-305.
    Roman billon follis, 9.83 g, 26.3 mm, 5 h.
    Antioch, AD 300-301.
    Obv: FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES, laureate head right.
    Rev: GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI, Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over left shoulder, holding patera from which liquid flows, and cornucopiae; K/B-V//ANT.
    Refs: RIC vi, p. 620, 55a; Cohen 89; RCV 14069.
    Notes: The K in the left field probably refers to the retariffing of the follis at 20 denarii communes, while the V in the right field may refer to the revised valuation of the follis at 5 to the silver argentius (Harl, Kenneth W. "Marks of Value on Tetrarchic Nummi and Diocletian's Monetary Policy." Phoenix, vol. 39, no. 3, 1985, pp. 263–270, citing C.H.V. Sutherland, "Denarius and Sestertius in Diocletian's Currency Reform," JRS 51 (1961), pp. 93-97).

    Maximian as Augustus:

    Maximian, 1st Reign, AD 286-305.
    Roman billon follis, 10.96 g, 27.2 mm, 12 h.
    Trier, AD 298-99.
    Obv: IMP MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head, right.
    Rev: GENIO POP-VLI ROMANI, Genius, wearing modius, nude but for chlamys draped over left shoulder, standing left, holding patera in right hand and cornucopiae in left hand; A/*//TR.
    Refs: RIC vi, p. 186, 277b.
    Notes: Typically, the reverse legend is broken GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI.

    Galerius as Caesar:

    Galerius as Caesar, AD 293-305.
    Roman silvered billon follis, 8.62 g, 27.2 mm, 6 h.
    Trier, AD 302-3.
    Obv: MAXIMIANVS NOBIL C, laureate and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI, Genius standing facing, head left, wearing modius, naked but for chlamys over left shoulder, holding patera and cornucopiae; S/F//IITR.
    Refs: RIC vi, p. 196, 508b; Cohen 65; RCV 14348.
    Notes: Some numismatists postulate that the S F in the fields of these coins from Trier is an abbreviation for SAECVLI FELICITAS.

    Diocletian as Augustus:

    Diocletian, AD 284-305.
    Roman billon follis, 10.80 g, 23.6 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, AD 302-305.
    Obv: IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, Laureate head, right.
    Rev: SACRA MON VRB AVGG ET CAESS NN, Moneta standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae; star in right field, R P in exergue.
    Refs: RIC vi, p. 362, 103a; Cohen 434; RCV 12815.
  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Four coins, ranging from 27.8-29 mm.

    Diocletian, silvered AE Follis, 294-295 AD, Nicomedia Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, IMP CC VAL DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG/ Rev. Genius standing left, pouring out patera & holding cornucopiae, GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, mintmark SMN (Nicomedia). RIC VI 27a p. 556), Sear RCV IV 12788, ERIC II 539, Cohen 106. 27.8 mm., 8.6 g.

    Diocletian silvered follis, Nicomedia mint, obverse.jpg

    Diocletian silvered follis, Nicomedia mint, reverse.jpg

    Maximian, silvered AE Follis, 297-98 AD, Heraclea Mint (1st Officina). Obv. Laureate head right, IMP C MA MAXIMIANVS PF AVG / Rev. Genius standing left holding cornucopiae in left hand and pouring libation from patera in right hand, GENIO POPVLI ROMANI; HTA in exergue. RIC V-2 Heraclea 19b, Sear RCV IV 13265. 28 mm., 10.26 g.

    Maximian jpg version.jpg

    Constantius I Chlorus Caesar (father of Constantine I), Billon Follis, 296-297 AD, Heraclea Mint (3rd Officina). Obv. Laureate head right, FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES / Rev. Genius wearing modius on head, standing left, nude, chlamys draped over left shoulder, holding cornucopiae in left hand and pouring libation from patera in right hand, GENO POPV-L-I ROMANI; mintmark HT Γ[gamma] [Γ= 3rd Officina] in exergue. RIC VI Heraclea 18a (p. 531), Sear RCV IV 14061. 29 mm., 9.91 g.

    Constantius I Chlorus AE Follis Portrait & Genius Heraclea VF RIC 18a, jpg version.jpg

    I have no Galerius from when he was Caesar, but here's one from later on (from the Dattari Collection):

    Galerius, AE Follis, 305-306 AD, Cyzicus Mint (4th Officina). Obv. Laureate head right, IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG/ Rev. Genius, wearing modius on head, nude, chlamys draped over left shoulder, standing left, holding cornucopiae in left hand and pouring libation from patera in right hand, GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI; mintmark K Δ [K = Cyzicus, Delta = 4th Officina] in exergue. RIC VI Cyzicus 21b & 25a (pp. 582, 584), Sear RCV IV 14546, Cohen 81. 27.8 mm., 9.65 g. 12 h. Ex. Giovanni Dattari Collection (before 1923); Ex. Jesus Vico 2018.

    Galerius Obv 1.jpg

    Galerius Rev. 1.jpg
  13. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    I think that coins is actually Galerius, not Maximian, as Augustus during the Second Tetrarchy. RIC has it as Galerius, RIC Carthage 39b (I in the left field and B in exergue.)

    One reason to think so is the nose which is unlike the prominent upturned nose of Maximian. The reverse type is minted both during and after the First Tetrarchy, but RIC puts those with this legend and "I" in the left field and "B" in exergue under the Second Tetrarchy when Galerius was Augustus and using the name MAXIMIANVS and exactly the same legend that had been used earlier for some coins of Maximian.

    For more about the distinction, see:

    Usually those two emperors are easier to tell apart than in this case. In this case the nose gives a hint, but RIC and its grouping of symbols in the field and exergue is convincing. (RIC Carthage 31b, otherwise the same, has H in the field.)

    For much more about that time period and its coins, here is a list of links:

    For common folles of Maximian so you can see his portrait with his distinctive nose, see:

    Here is a Carthage-mint coin of Maximian:
    29-27 mm. 9.82 grams.
    B in exergue, nothing in the fields.
    RIC Carthage 27b "c.298-9"
  14. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Very nice group of coins!! I agree that those folles are something to behold when compared to the smaller coins after the reform. I have an affection for the folles of Carthage like the one of yours as well as the Africa reverse type as well.

    Here is a follis of Maximian that I received and shared last month:
    Maximian, First Reign 286-305 AD
    AE Silvered Follis, Struck 295-296 AD, Cyzicus mint

    Obverse: IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, head of Maximian, laureate, right.
    Reverse: GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI, Genius, wearing modius, nude, chlamys draped over left shoulder, standing left, pouring liquid from patera in right hand and holding cornucopiae in left hand; KЄ in exergue.
    References: RIC VI Cyzicus 10b
    Size: 27mm, 10.5g
    Note: Much of silvering still intact.

    A smaller ant of Maximian:
    Maximianus, First Reign 286-305 AD
    AE Antoninianus, Struck 293 AD, Antioch Mint

    Obverse: IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, bust of Maximian, radiate, cuirassed, right.
    Reverse: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Maximian, draped, cuirassed, standing right, holding sceptre in right hand and receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter; Jupiter, standing left, holding scepter; ЄΔ below; •XXI in exergue.
    References: RIC V 621, Cohen 54
    Size: 21.8mm, 3.4g

    A follis of Galerius:
    Galerius as Caesar, Ruled 293-305 AD
    AE follis, Struck 296-303 AD, London Mint

    Obverse: MAXIMIANVS NOB CAES, Laureate and cuirassed bust right.
    Reverse: GENIO POPV–LI ROMANI, Genius standing, facing left, head surmounted by a modius, naked except for chlamys over left shoulder, holding patera in right hand and cornucopia in left arm; no exergue..
    References: RIC VI 15 (London); CT (Cloke & Toone) 2.01.015. Cloke & Toone combine RIC 15 and 21 into one catalogue number due to the presence of continuous variation in bust size; there are not really two distinct bust types as RIC would have it. This falls clearly within the “coarse” style of C&T 2.01.
    Size: 27.6mm, 10.08g
    Ex: James Pickering Romano-Britannic Collection, acquired from Victor Clark, ex Freeman and Sear.

    A smaller ant Diocletian:
    Diocletian, Ruled 285-305 AD
    AE Antoninianus (silvered), Struck 285 AD, Antioch Mint

    Obverse: IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, bust of Diocletian, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right.
    Reverse: IOV ET HERCV CONSER AVGG, Jupiter, standing right, holding globe in right hand and sceptre in left hand, and Hercules, standing left, holding Victory in right hand and club and lion’s skin in left hand, A officina designation above, mintmark XXI.
    References: RIC V 323

    And a follis of Galerius technically from the Fourth Tetrarchy:
    Galerius Maximianus (not Maximianus Herculius)
    AE2, Struck 309-310 AD, Siscia Mint
    Obverse: IMP MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right.
    Reverse: GENIO CA-ESARIS: Genius, wearing modius, nude, chlamys draped over left shoulder, standing left, holding patera in right hand and cornucopiae in left hand, crescent in left field, Γ in right field.
    Exergue: SIS
    References: RIC VI Siscia 201a
  15. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting.. although the attribution came from the seller I actually did go to your website to verify the legend variation as I was aware of the potential problem from your previous post on the subject. I spend quite a bit of time on your excellent website. I do not have RIC but will investigate in Sear later today. Thank you.

    I have a couple of other large folles I will verify as well.. if I were to go by your "nose" rule I can see the difference.. although they have me fooled again on the legend.

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
  16. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    I love those large (27 mm) tetrarchic folles. They are attractive coins that still can be had on a budget. Here's a nice Galerius follis I picked up from Victor a year or two ago. BTW, I see Galerius coins mistaken for Maximian / Maximinus all the time. Have almost bought some!

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
  17. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Wonderful coins, @Clavdivs ! Thanks for the write up, and GREAT COINS! They look great.

    Not my area of collecting, but I have all of the players. Maybe not in the type coins you OP'd.

    GALERIUS - biggie

    RI Galerius 293-308 AE30mm Folles Ticinum mint Moneta 12g


    RI MAXIMIANUS HERCULIUS 286-305 CE antoninianus Antioch 292-295 CE Pre-Reform CONCORDIA MILITVM Jupiter RIC V 621 H-officina 8


    Oops, not the Mongo-Size. Rather, got one when he was dead.

    RI Constantius I Chlorus 293-306 CE DIVO AE Quinarius Thesalonika 317-318 Seated RIC VII 25 R5 RARE


    Earlier post above.
  18. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    This statement deserves expansion. The tetrarchy was formed when Constantius and Galerius were made Caesares so there are coins of all four that were before the currency reform that brought us the large folles as well as coins of the two Augusti that were before the elevation of the two new Caesares. That last group could be classed as not of the Tetrarchy but the pre-reforms of all four most certainly were. If you state a coin is not of the Tetrarchy, you need to point out how you determined that the coin was pre-elevation not just that it was pre-reform. The end date of the 1st Tetrarchy is easier since the coins of Galerius and Constantius become as Augustus and those of the old Augusti become as Senior Augusti.

    I am unclear how we prove a pre reform coin of Diocletian or Maximian is before the Caesares and, therefore not Tetrarchic. The easy answer is to find coins that do not have parallels in the name of the Caesares but it would seem possible that not all types were issued by all mints in all four names even though the elevation had occurred. Below is a reverse type used with Constantius Caesar and each of the Augusti making me suspect it would be safe to call the set Tetrarchic. ru3858bb3132.jpg ru3345bb2683.jpg ru3580b02197lg.jpg

    I do not own the equivalent Galerius with the above reverse so you get (below) a different reverse from the pre reform Tetrarch Galerius.

    Many collectors of the Tetrarchy avoid the pre reform coins listed in RIC volume V and stick to the large folles and fractions of the period covered by RIC volume VI. These are my favorites of the post reform period of the 1st Tetrarchy:

    Diocletian follis ru3410bb2104.jpg
    Maximian post reform radiate fraction (2/5 follis?)

    Constantius I Caesar follis

    Galerius Caesar follis
  19. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    You are overcomplicating it. Speaking specifically on the coin of which I was speaking and only that coin, it is easy-- the reverse legend ends with AVG, so sole reign of Diocletian.
    Clavdivs and DonnaML like this.
  20. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    That is exactly what needed to be said before. How do we tell the ones that do not end in AVG or AVGG? In the earlier period there are some with no AVG(G). My only answer is whether the type also exists for Maximinian. Are all the pre Maximinian issues AVG ending?
  21. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    And here is a beat-up argenteus of Diocletian from Rome, ca. 295-7:

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