ROMAN EMPIRE, Maximianus, 286-305 AD, antoninianius, Lugdunum mint


ROMAN EMPIRE, Maximianus, 286-305 AD, antoninianius, no date (287-9 AD), Lugdunum mint, Obverse: radiate helmeted bust R, IMP C MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, Reverse: Hercules standing R strangling Nemean lion VIRTVTI AVGG, billon, 23mm, 4.1g, SR13197, full silvering, XF-AU

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Diocletian raised his military colleague Maximian to Caesar and then raised him again to Augustus and made him co-Emperor in the west. Together the two Emperors devised a governing system of two Emperors and two Caesars, referred to as the Tetrarchy. It worked pretty well for a while, then ambitions started to come into play. The old antoninianus coinage was retired and replaced with a new coinage system based on the follis.

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.