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    Jupiter the Protector

    Diocletian (AD 284-305). AV aureus (20mm, 4.67 gm, 12h). Cyzicus, AD 284-286. IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Diocletian right / IOVI CON-SERVATORI, Jupiter standing left, holding Victory on globe and scepter. RIC 295d. Cohen 248. Calic├│ 4482. Crisply struck on a round flan. NGC (photo-certificate) AU 5/5 - 3/5. 

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Dreesmann Collection (Spink London, 13 April 2000), lot 72; Bankhaus Aufhauser (Berlin, 21-22 October 1985), lot 380.

    Although he reached the Roman throne via the path of coup and civil war, Diocletian turned out to be a far-sighted statesman of rare ability. Achieving undisputed power in AD 285, he came in with a detailed blueprint for Roman revival. Recognizing the task of governing the Empire had grown too great for one man, he divided supreme power with three old military colleagues and devised a formula for renewing this "Tetrarchy" every 20 years. The arrangement worked surprisingly well and by AD 300 the ceaseless revolts and civil wars that had nearly destroyed the Roman Empire over the latter third century had stopped, allowing Roman economic life to slowly and painfully recover. His many reforms included a complete revamp of the Roman coinage system. This aureus, struck at the very outset of his reign, retains the style, fabric and weight (about 4.75 grams) fixed by Aurelian in AD 275, about 1/70th of a Roman pound. In AD 293, Diocletian increased the weight of the aureus to 1/60th of a pound (about 5.4 grams), and at the same time introduced an entirely new coin of good silver, the argenteus.  The imagery of his coinage continued to stress the role of Jupiter as his personal "protector" (IOVI CONSERVATORI), while his colleague Maximian adopted Hercules as his patron, thus creating two Imperial "houses," the Jovian and Herculean. 




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    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
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