Tetrarchy and the House of Constantine

Richard Abdy

in The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195305746
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Tetrarchy and the House of Constantine

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Roman History
  • Historical Archaeology


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In the 1980s, the edict was known as “Diocletian's Currency Revaluation”; by the dawn of the new millennium it was known as the “Aphrodisias Currency Inscription.” The highest-denomination coin mentioned is an argenteus of 100 common denarii. The argenteus that was introduced had a high silver content, and its weight of 96 to the (Roman) pound was marked on the reverses of some issues. Such a silver coin had not been manufactured at Rome since the time of Nero. It was only briefly matched in the third century by the accession issues of the usurper Carausius. The currency inscription refers to the coinage in maiore orbis parte—used by most of the world. This was a relatively new situation in the Roman Empire. The expected pattern of succession established by the Tetrarchy broke down quite suddenly on 25 July 306 outside the legionary fortress and temporary palace at York.

Keywords: tetrarchy; denarii; argenteus; Roman Empire; currency inscription

Article.  7199 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History ; Historical Archaeology

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