Coins of Diocletian

Roman Emperor (AD 284-305)

Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus was chosen emperor by the Roman armies in 284. A competent soldier and administrator, Diocletian set out to stabilize the empire, too large and stretched thin by this time for one man to control adequately. Diocletian appointed Maximian as his Caesar in 285, to undertake the administration of Italy and the Western empire. Diocletian was titled Jove (Jupiter) and Maximian was titled Hercules, which reflected their relative status. In 286, Maximian was made co-Augustus, and in 293, in an attempt to stabilize administration and the military needs of the empire further, Diocletian created two Caesars subordinate to the two Augusti, Galerius and Constantius.

In 301, Diocletian introduced his edict on maximum prices which set wage and price controls in an attempt to curb inflation. Penalties for contravention of the edict were severe, and included capital punishment. It was in this year that the legend on follis coinage was changed to Sacra Moneta, stressing the sacredness of the imperial mint. Diocletian cannot be said to have solved the problems of inflation and currency. He did, however, stabilize the frontiers of the empire, and by establishing collegiate rule he ensured that firm government and military control could be undertaken in vital areas of the empire.

Diocletian retired in 305 after over twenty years of rule.

AE Follis, Rome
after AD 293 (Mint of Antioch)

Obverse:
Head of Diocletian, laureate, r., encircled by IMP C DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG

Reverse:
Genius standing holding patera and cornucopiae, encircled by GENIO POPVLI ROMANI. Mint mark Z K V ANT