Diocletian XXI, Tripolis and Patina/fibers

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by IMP Shogun, Nov 6, 2021.

  1. IMP Shogun

    IMP Shogun Well-Known Member

    Happy weekend everyone.

    Title says it all. I've been slowly expanding my Diocletian series and late Roman coins from the post-crisis period into the Tetrarchy.

    Diocletian's rise, as is true of many others, is one filled with military exploits and dramatic intrigue. Afer Emperor Carus was struck by lightening after defeating the Sassanids; Diocletian secured his power by personally killing Aper the alleged murderer of Numerian who was Carus' son and a short-lived emperor with his brother Carinus. That story is very dramatic in itself. Wow, it is easy to digress when talking ancient Rome. The Rise of Diocletianus | Weapons and Warfare

    Diocletian likely gained power through his contribution to the very successful military campaign of Carus as the commander of the elite calvary of the emperor. His political power came through fortune and opportunity or through clever planning depending on the sources and through our +1,700 year lens.

    An interesting thing I've come across are these pre-reform radiate / antoninianus from Tripolis:

    6.017 Diocletian Ant resized.jpg
    Diocletian 284-305 A.D. Antoninianus RIC V-2 330 Victory 284? Tripolis
    radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right
    Victory walking right, holding palm, presenting wreath to emperor who is standing left holding globe and sceptre. TR in lower centre, XXI in exergue
    22mm 4.16g

    I've seen these with Jupiter and a small victory in place of the larger crowning victory. Looking at Augustus Coins Tripolis mint, Roman Empire (augustuscoins.com) I believe it is RIC V 330 with the single G, i.e. prior to Maximian, in the obverse putting it at sometime before 286 but I'm not sure why Wildwinds would have 284 as the mint date.

    Doug Smith also has a page on the XXI mark here:
    XXI (forumancientcoins.com)

    Supposedly this coin was minted in 284 just as Diocletian ascended and prior to removing Carinus in 285. It does appear Triopolis was an active mint under Carinus but it's curious that so many coins could have been minted there and it does appear they were produced quickly to recognize Diocletian. Presumably Tripolis had important military functions as well as trade at this time.

    I didn't do a very good job of cleaning the coin prior to photographing it as it looks like fibers are stuck to it pretty good and my standard of using air didn't cut it. I'm wondering if this patina is fake or just been absorbing stuff over the years.
    5.900 Carinus.jpg
    Carinus RIC V-2 325 284 Antioch

    6.015 Diocletian Ant Tic.jpg
    Diocletian RIC V.2 220 Ticinum 285

    The other radiates I have come from the 290's, with at least one Diocletian additional I can't find at the moment that I'll post as a follow-up:
    Galerius RIC VI 16 Delta Heraclea 295-296

    6.201 Constantius Radiate resized.jpg
    Constantius RIC 40b (RIC 41?) Votive Ticinum 299

    Curious to see what you guys have from Tripolis, these radiate types or Diocletian.
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Probus 8.jpg
    AE Silvered Antoninianus
    OBVERSE: IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind
    REVERSE: CLEMENTIA TEMP dot, Emperor standing right, holding eagle-tipped sceptre, receiving globe from Jupiter, holding sceptre. Crescent in lower centre Mintmark KA
    Struck at Tripolis mint, 277 AD
    4g, 22mm
    RIC 928, crescent
    ex Warren Etsy
  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Shogun, That's an excellent group pf radiates :happy:. I only have one Diocletian radiate that I haven't seen in a long time :facepalm:. If you or other CT members have a serious interest in Diocletian, I highly recommend the book by Stephen Williams, Diocletian & The Roman Recovery, copyright 1985, 264 pp. The book is modestly illustrated with line drawings & B/W photos, but packed with useful info.

    Diocletian & Roman Recovery, S. Williams.jpg

    Pictured below are a few of my Diocletian nummi :D.
    2491170-016, AK Collection.jpg

    2412809-041, AK Collection.jpg
    2491170-017, AK Collection.jpg
    NGC 2491170-013 Al Kowsky Collection.jpg
    NGC 2491170-015 Al Kowsky Collection.jpg
  5. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    While I'm mostly a history-based generalist collector, I do have a thing for these early sole-Augustus issues for Diocletian in the East, i.e. from the mints he controlled before the final defeat of Carinus. (The coins were certainly issued before the elevation of Maximian in 285, due to the "AVG" in the reverse legend.) Here's the list of types that RIC regards as dateable to 284:

    324 1C, IOVI CONSERVATORI AVG, A to EΔ in field, XXI in ex. (common)
    326 1C, VICTORIA AVG, A to EA in field, XXI in ex. (rare)

    328 1C, IOVI CONSERVATORI AVG (receiving Victory from Jupiter), TR in field, XXI in ex. (common)
    330 1C, IOVI CONSERVATORI AVG (receiving wreath from Victory), TR in field, XXI in ex. (rare)
    332 1C, VICTORIA AVG (receiving wreath from Victory), TR in field, XXI in ex. (rare)
    333 3C, as previous (rare)

    C: Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust r.

    I have all of them except RIC 332. Here they are:

    RIC 324 (Antioch)
    RIC 324.jpg

    RIC 326 (Antioch)
    RIC 326.jpg

    RIC 328 (Tripolis)
    RIC 328.jpg

    RIC 330 (Tripolis) - same as the OP coin
    RIC 330.jpg

    RIC 333 (Tripolis)
    RIC 333.jpg

    Maximian was most likely elevated in 285.
  6. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    James, That's a stunning gem grade radiate :jawdrop:! Even the eagle on the scepter is clearly defined :woot:.
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    While I have no real reason to doubt this AVG vs. AVGG theory, I would point out that the coins of Carus and family played by 'different' rules regarding the G count. For example, these Caesar issues of Numerian read AVGGG which means they counted Caesars. While we certainly have been taught the meaning of GG, I would not bet the farm. How certain are we that the mint followed the rules as strictly as we might wish? First, study all the evidence as to when Maximianus was elevated not based on coin evidence and see if everything lines up as 'certain' or 'likely'. Is there hoard evidence showing that there was a time with sole reign Diocletian coins?
    rs3140bb1400.jpg rs3150bb1530.jpg
  8. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    100% agree, @dougsmit. My "certainly" was intended as a "well, as certain as these things get given our normally scarily weak evidence." :D I do believe there is hoard evidence to support the early AVG on these types, though now I can't find the reference I came across which said this. Also, there's evidence for mint sloppiness too: this year, in a group lot, I saw a Maximian IOVI CONSERVATORI from Antioch with the legend finishing in AVG! :jawdrop: It's the only one I've seen. (I bid strongly for the lot, but somebody else had deeper pockets and saw something they really, really wanted.)

    I always love seeing your huge flan Numerian... such a great coin!!
    Claudius_Gothicus likes this.
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

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