Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 111   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 214

Estimate: 12'500 CHF   |   Starting price: 10'000 CHF Price realized: 23'000 CHF
Maximianus augustus, first reign 286 – 305. Aureus, Cyzicus circa 293, AV 5.42 g. MAXIMIANVS – AVGVSTVS Laureate head r. Rev. CONCORDI – AE AVGG NN The two Augusti seated l., each holding globe and parazonium, crowned by Victory between them. C 47. RIC 601. Depeyrot 13/3. Calicó 4612.
A superb portrait work of a very skilled master-engraver. A perfect Fdc
Ex Rollin & Feuardent sale 16-17 June 1924, Vallette, 272. From the Pierre Bastien collection.
If Diocletian was the model of innovation and reform, his Imperial colleague Maximian was the model of loyalty. There were no doubt ample opportunities for Maximian to rebel against Diocletian, or at the very least attempt to set up his own empire in the west. But throughout twenty years of joint rulership, no such attempt was made. Maximian had been a high-ranking soldier of undistinguished parentage, and he clearly was grateful for the opportunity Diocletian had afforded him. However, during these two decades Maximian became addicted to power, and unlike Diocletian, who was more than willing to retire, he had no desire to step down. In May of 305 Maximian was forced to abdicate along with Diocletian. Months dragged on for Maximian, who stewed in forced retirement in his Italian villa until his son, Maxentius, raised a revolt in Rome against the senior emperor Galerius. Maximian jumped at this new opportunity to exercise power, but it is doubtful that he ever planned on playing second fiddle to his estranged son. Maximian was responsible for the initial survival of the revolt, for he rebuffed an invasion of Italy led by the new Caesar Severus II. Having secured Italy, Maximian eventually challenged his son, but could not gain enough support. Having worn out his welcome in Rome, the former emperor fled to the court of his son-in-law Constantine the Great in the west. In a repeat performance, Maximian eventually tired of his idleness and challenged Constantine, only to lose again, and this time to die in the aftermath. After twenty years of honourable service under Diocletian, Maximian tarnished his lifetime's achievements because of his behaviour in his last three years of life. This aureus, an interesting piece struck at Cyzicus at the intermediate weight of 55 to the pound, depicts Diocletian and Maximian seated beside one another with a Victory crowning them for their achievements, both civic and military, as indicated by their globes and swords.

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