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    Galerius, Champion Of The Old Gods

    Galerius Maximianus (AD 305-311). AV aureus (21mm, 5.28 gm, 12h).  Serdica, AD 305-306. IMP MAXIMI-ANVS P F AVG, laureate head of Galerius right / HERCVLI VICTORI, Hercules standing right, right hand resting on on club, left hand holding three apples of the Hesperides, left armed draped with skin of the Nemean lion; Σ (reverted) in left field,  • SM • SD • in exergue. RIC 6b. Cohen 294 corrected (Maximianus Herculeus). Depeyrot 1/2. Calicó 4907 (R4). Extremely rare and undoubtedly the finest known specimen. NGC MS? 5/5 - 4/5.

    Galerius began life as the son of a peasant herdsman. His mother Romula was a pagan priestess from the far side of the Danube who fueled his lifelong respect for the "old gods" of Rome and his hatred for Chistianity. A large, imposing man, he found a career in the military and rose through the ranks to become Praetorian Prefect under Diocletian. On March 1, AD 293, Galerius was made Caesar, or Junior Emperor, of the East. Winning a decisive victory over Persia in AD 296, his influence over Diocletian grew steadily. In AD 302, he induced his senior to launch the Great Persecution, an all-out effort to crush Christianity root and branch. In AD 305, Diocletian abdicated and Galerius became Augustus of the East, but the death of his partner Constantius the following year threw the Tetrarchic system into chaos, and Galerius spent the rest of his reign desperately trying to restore order. In AD 310 he fell victim to a wasting disease that left him horribly disfigured and in constant pain. The Christians claimed it was God's vengeance, and Galerius seems to have at least partly believed it, for he ordered the persecution formally ended just five days before he died in May, AD 311. This exceedingly rare aureus of Galerius as Augustus shows the demigod Hercules as his protector, one of the last times he would appear on Roman coinage.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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