Maximian's name

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    I recently got the first coin which helps tell a good story.

    Coins of Maximian, co-Augustus (286-305) with Diocletian, often have the simple legend "IMP MAXIMIANVS PF AVG". After Maximian retired May 1, 305, Galerius, whose full name included "MAXIMIANVS", began to use that exact same legend previously used by Maximian. So, when Maximian returned to power during his "second reign" (307-308) that legend referred to Galerius, not Maximian. So, Constantine minted for Maximian using a longer version of his name to distinguish Maximian from Galerius. The first coin shows the longer version and the rest of this post explains how this all happened.

    Maximian, recognized as Augustus at a mint (Trier) of Constantine.
    27-25 mm. 7.18 grams.
    Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Pius Felix Augustus
    Note the remarkably long version of his name which makes it clear this is not a coin of Galerius.
    Altar in left field
    PLG in exergue
    RIC Trier 766 "autumn 307 - end of 308."
    In this issue Constantine and Maxentius are also Augusti. Galerius and Maximinus II are omitted.

    The Roman emperors we call Maximian and Galerius had similar names. Maximian was
    Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus
    and Galerius was
    Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus. We use "Maximian" or "Maximianus" for the first, so scholars have chosen to use a different name, Galerius, for the second. (Maybe he could have been called Maximianus II, but he is not.)

    It is common for emperors to use longer versions of their names on their first coin issues and shorter versions after they were well known. Maximian became Augustus in 286, long before Galerius was elevated to Caesar in 293, so Maximian had first dibs on the name "Maximianus." Coins of Galerius as Caesar usually have "GAL" as well as "CAES" to distinguish them. After Maximian retired (under pressure from Diocletian) in May 305, retirement types were issued for him as "DN MAXIMIANVS PF S AVG", with "DN" for "Dominus Noster" (Our Lord) and "S" for Senior (sort of like emeritus is for professors). The name MAXIMIANVS for an active emperor was freed up to be used by the new Augustus who we call Galerius (but he called himself Maximianus). Here is an example:


    Galerius (not Maximian)
    Struck at Trier, a mint of Constantine.
    26 mm. 6.63 grams.
    In spite of this legend, it is a coin of Galerius, not Maximian. This is clear from both the portrait (which does not have the nose of Maximian) and the co-rulers in the same issue.
    S A across field
    PTR in exergue
    RIC VI Trier 714. "c. summer 307". This group is shared by Galerius with Constantine as Caesar, Maximinus II as Caesar, and, according to RIC, half-folles of Maximian with this exact same legend! The portrait looks like Galerius rather than Maximian and it is from Trier, apparently before Maximian began his second reign. RIC and I both attribute it to Galerius, not to the second reign of Maximian.

    In late 306 Maximian was invited out of retirement by his son Maxentius who had usurped power in Rome. At first Constantine, now only Caesar, went half way to recognizing this event by minting for Maximian with his retired titles "DN" and "S" but with that GENIO POP ROM reverse type which was not a retirement reverse.

    25-24 mm. 6.61 grams.
    DN MAXIMIANO P F S AVG (notice the distinctive nose and the dative case)
    RIC London 90 "c. summer 307"

    In 307 Maximian and Constantine came to an agreement where each recognized the other as (active) Augustus. But that was now awkward on the coins. Galerius was already using the name "MAXIMIANVS", so what name could Maximian use? Well, Constantine minted for him with a long version of his name. Maximian's titles were changed back to "IMP ... AVG" (which he had used before retirement) and the legend greatly expanded to include "M AVREL VAL". See the first coin.

    For much more about retirement types, see my page:

    Show us anything relevant, perhaps a coin of another emperor with a legend giving longer name than usual.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
    singig, jamesicus, Egry and 20 others like this.
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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Neat post! Closest thing I have to longer-than-normal names is this one of Gallienus.

    Gallienus seems to have most of his coins with the very short GALLIENVS AVG on this very bronze Ant, which simply means Gallienus, Augustus.
    Gallienus Rome RIC 245 A (2020_11_18 03_38_31 UTC).JPG
    Sometimes, however, Gallienus has a lot more of his names and titles: IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS PF AVG on this very good silver Ant, which means "Imperator Caesar Publius Licinius Gallienus, Pius Felix Augustus"
    Gallienus AR Ant RIC 178 (2020_11_18 03_38_31 UTC).JPG
  4. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Yes I have a Maximian and a Galerius with almost the same legends, and another two of Galerius that aren't much different. Apparently it's all in the nose, and distinguishing 'IMP C' from 'NOB C'. Someone wrote a good webpage about it ;)

    The reverses are even more similar than the obverses!

    Maximian, 300
    London (probably). 26mm, 9.4g. IMP C MAXIMIANVS P F AVG. GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI (RIC VI 6b).

    Galerius, 305-307
    London. 26mm, 9.59g. IMP MAXIMIANVS P F AVG. GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI (RIC 52b).

    Galerius, 303
    London. 30mm, 10.18g. MAXIMIANVS NOBIL C. GENIO POPV-LI ROMANI (RIC VI 34).

    Galerius, 300-303
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  5. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Going back to the beginning of his reign, and in keeping with the "longer names at introduction" principle, here's an antoninianus with some of extra stuff at the beginning:

    Screen Shot 2021-01-21 at 12.19.05 PM.jpg
    IMP C M A VAL... (Ticinum 285-88, RIC 545)

    The retirement issues got pretty verbose:
    Screen Shot 2021-01-21 at 12.23.33 PM.jpg
    D N MAXIMIANO FELICISSIMO SEN AVG (follis, Cyzicus, RIC 535b)

    Then, after his demise:
    Screen Shot 2021-01-21 at 12.19.52 PM.jpg
    DIVO MAXIMIANO SEN FORT IMP (quarter follis, Rome, issued 317-18 by Constantine, despite the fact that Maximian had betrayed him and was forced to commit suicide!)

    Is "SEN" senior again? What does the "FORT" mean?
  6. Claudius_Gothicus

    Claudius_Gothicus Well-Known Member

    Yes, "SEN" still means senior, while I think "FORT" stands for Fortissimus, "The Strongest".

    Thanks for the really interesting article, @Valentinian! Here's my only Maximian:
    Maximian, first reign (286-305), Antoninianus, Cyzicus mint.
    Obverse: IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind;
    Reverse: CONCORDIA MIL-ITVM (dot), Maximianus standing right holding sceptre, receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter standing left, holding long sceptre, Epsilon in lower centre. Mintmark XXI (dot);
    RIC 595
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  7. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My only deceptive Galerius is this quarter(?) follis (AE3) of Siscia with MAXIMIANVS AVG.
  8. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I do believe that, whenever we have a thread separating Maximianus and Galerius, we should at least mention that it is VERY important to be sure our coin has that A in MaximiAnus which separates the coins of Galerius and Maximinus II. We have seen postings here on Coin Talk too often which 'speed read' the legends and miss the fact that that second A is significant. If the coin reads MAXIMINVS it does NOT belong to Maximianus or Galerius. Below is a London mint coin of Augustus Maximinus. See the lack of the (second) A!

    Some have a particularly hard time with this when there is a GAL in the legend. This is NOT a coin of Galerius. There is no second A between I and N so it is Maximinus II.
  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I wondered about that. So basically, while Max kinda sucked at the the game of thrones, he did win a lot of arm wrestles? :D
  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Enrich the soldiers...ignore all others

    I have always found this conundrum very interesting. Maximianus Nob Caes obviously is Galerius (since Maximian was never a Caesar). However as time goes on it gets a bit more tricky to deduce who was who. For awhile it seems like there was an uncomfortable arrangement featuring Maxentius, Maximian, and Constantine. Of course, everything broke down when Constantine went to war against Maxentius who lost at the battle of the Milvian Bridge, where Constantine had his famed "vision". After that it is all water under the bridge, so to speak.
    jamesicus likes this.
  12. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Collectors who use RIC, Volume VI, to attribute and/or research their coins should be aware that the title “Maximian Herculius” is used by Sutherland instead of “Maximinianus” (which is the name used by most collectors, dealers and catalogers) and “Galerius Maximian” is used instead of “Galerius” (which, again, is the name used by most collectors, dealers and catalogers). So you have to be careful when attributing Galerius as Augustus of the East coins. Here is a coin where the portrait alone attributes the coin to Galerius Maximian:

    RIC VI, London, follis, No. 42, Galerius Maximian, Augustus of the East



    Note: Identical obverse inscription to the primary one of Maximian Herculius. In this instance the portrait alone identifies it as Galerius Maximian.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    What other mints besides London issued Galerius Augustus coins without the GAL? I posted the small coin of Siscia but have none in larger size (folles).
    jamesicus likes this.
  14. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I do not know the answer, and I am too sick, tired and lazy to do an online search (or leaf through my copy of RIC, Volume VI) to find the answer, sorry. I also only have unreduced folles.
  15. Alegandron

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


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


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

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Here is a coin of the emperor we call Licinius with an early long version of his name.

    25 mm, which is large for a coin of Licinius because it is an early issue. Later coins were smaller.
    GENIO AVGVSTI, A in left field star in right, MKV in exergue.
    RIC Cyzicus 54.
    The second tetrarchy ended with the death of Constantius in July 306 and the orderly tetrarchal system broke down. In 308 three rulers were claiming the title of Augustus in the west (Constantine, Maxentius, and Maximian [second reign]) and Galerius, Augustus in the east, called the famous "Conference at Carnuntum" to straighten out who had what title where. The retired Diocletian lent his authority. The result was the Maximian was told to retire again, Maxentius was declared a "public enemy", and Constantine was told he was demoted to Caesar and a new man, Licinius was elevated to Augustus in the west without having been Caesar.

    Nevertheless, Constantine and Maxentius continued to mint as Augusti and Licinius did not control any western territory. Galerius let him have some territory in the middle. The mint of Cyzicus is the only mint to spell his name with "NN" (and only on early issues) and the only mint to use that very long version of his name. Mid-length versions include IMP C VAL LICIN LICINIVS PF AVG (VAL for Valerius). Later his legends are as simple as "IMP LICINIVS AVG".
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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