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    Diocletian: Reform and Persecution

    Diocletian (AD 284-305). AV aureus (22mm, 5.36 gm, 6h).  Rome or Cyzicus, AD 286. IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Diocletian right, seen from front / IOVI CON-SERVAT AVGG, Jupiter standing left, nude but for chlamys, holding thunderbolt in right hand and grounded scepter in left. RIC 134D (Rome). Cohen 216. Calic├│ 4463a (this coin illustrated). Well struck on a broad flan, with considerable residual luster. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU 5/5 - 3/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Dreesmann Collection (Spink London, 13 April 2000), lot 67; Lanz 44 (Munich, 16 May 1988), lot 808. 

    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. Though tireless in his work of restoration and reform, Diocletian's name was forever tarnished by one act near the close of his reign-- the Great Persecution of Christianity, in which thousands of Christians were tortured and killed and their possessions confiscated. The persecution was actually the brainchild of his subordinate Galerius, who had a vendetta against the faith, and Diocletian's own enthusiasm for the effort is doubtful. He fell seriously ill not long thereafter, and though he recovered, he soon astonished the world by formally abdicating the throne in AD 305 and retiring to his fortress-like villa in modern-day Split, Yugoslavia. He enjoyed retirement so much he refused several offers to resume supreme power.

    All Roman gold coins from the Dimitriadis Collection have been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. These may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please e-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.




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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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