|Online bidding ends:||26 May 2017 23:59 CEST|
|<< Previous lot||Next lot >>|
Rare and in exceptional condition for the issue, possibly the finest specimen known.
A magnificent portrait of exquisite style and an interesting and finely detailed
reverse composition. A superb reddish tone, a perfect Fdc
Found in a field in ”Pouvoir Dhée”, near Beaurains lès Arras, on 21 September 1922.
H. Platt Hall, Esq. (1863-1949) Collection (part II), sold by Glendining & Co., London, 16-21 November 1950, lot 1996.
Leo Biaggi de Blasys (1906-1979) Collection, acquired privately in 1978 by Bank Leu (Zürich) and a partner.
Sold by Bank Leu, Zürich, auction 22, 8 May 1979, lot 373.
Nelson Bunker Hunt (1926-2014) Collection (part III), sold by Sotheby’s, auction 6054, New York 4 December 1990, lot 99.
Claude Vaudecrane (1915-2002) Collection, sold by Leu Numismatics, Zürich, auction 93 (A Perfectionist), 10 May 2005, 126.
On March 1, AD 293, the Roman world was significantly changed when the Augustus (senior emperor) Diocletian and his Caesar (junior emperor) Maximianus reorganized the Empire to be administered by two Augusti and two Caesars. In this new system, known as the Tetrarachy, one Augustus and Caesar would be responsible for the Western Empire while the other would handle the East. Maximianus was named Augustus in the West and appointed his son-in-law, Constantius Chlorus, as his Caesar while Diocletian elevated his own son-in-law, Galerius, to be his Caesar.
This aureus depicts Constantius as Caesar on the obverse and celebrates his elevated relationship to Maximianus on the reverse. Already in AD 287, Diocletian and Maximianus had made a point of closely associating themselves with Jupiter and Hercules. Jupiter was tied to Diocletian and with the office of Augustus while Hercules was linked to Maximianus and the position of Caesar. Diocletian took to referring to himself as Jovianus and to Maximianus as Herculius as a means of casting themselves as agents of the divine and elevating their authority beyond the mortal realm. In keeping with this custom, Constantius added the name Herculius to his own nomenclature during his tenure as Caesar.
Here we see Jupiter passing the victoriola — a symbol of victory and power — on to Hercules in what is almost certainly an allegory for the relationship between the Augusti and Caesars of the Tetrarchy. Like Jupiter, the Augusti make the plans and give the commands, thereby placing victory in the hands of the subordinate heroes, the Caesars. The connection between the depicted gods and the senior and junior members of the Tetrarchy is further underlined by the reverse legend, which describes Jupiter and Hercules as the ”Defenders of Our Augusti and Caesars.”
It has been suggested that this coin — one of only three from the Arras hoard — was struck as a donative for the army on the occasion of the vicennalia (20-year anniversary) of the reign of Maximianus, which was celebrated on November 20, AD 303.