ROMAN EMPIRE, Diocletian, 284-305 AD, antoninianius


ROMAN EMPIRE, Diocletian, 284-305 AD, antoninianius, 293-294 AD, Cyzicus mint, officina 1, Obverse: radiate bust R, IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS AVG, Reverse: Jupiter standing L presenting Victory on globe to emperor standing R, CONCORDIA MILITVM, .XXI., A, billon, 20-22mm, 3.58g, SR12635, VG

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Diocletian was one of the major figures of Roman history. After defeating Carinus he proceeded to change the administrative structure of the Empire, setting up a system of divided regional commanders that set the stage for the subsequent division into eastern and western parts. He also transformed the coinage in several ways, including a range of billon denominations. Also a notable persecutor of Christians.

The Roman Empire was a system of theoretically constrained autocracy. The Emperor was supposed to be accepted by the Senate, which was supposed to be representing the people. It became difficult to restrain the autocrats. The succession problem was never solved. Many Emperors were murdered. In the 4th century AD the Empire was split for administrative purposes into eastern and western branches, the west devolving into local kingdoms in the 5th century AD, while the eastern branch continued as what we call the Byzantine Empire until 1453.

“Ancient Coins” includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.