Obverse: IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS PF AVG; Radiate and Cuirassed Bust of Emperor Facing Right
Reverse: CONCORDIA MILITVM; Maximianus Standing on the Left Receiving Victory from Jupiter Standing on the Right
Born of humble parents, Maximianus rose in the army, on the basis of his military skill, to become a trusted officer and friend of the emperor Diocletian, who made him Caesar in 285 A.D. and Augustus the following year. Thus in theory, Maximianus became the colleague of Diocletian, but his role was always subordinate. Assigned the government of the West, Maximianus failed to suppress revolts in Gaul and Britain; Constantius Chlorus, appointed Caesar under Maximianus in 293, took charge of these areas while Maximianus continued to govern Italy, Spain, and Africa. On May 1, 305, the same day that Diocletian abdicated at Nicomedia, Maximianus abdicated, evidently reluctantly, at Mediolanum. As the new tetrarchy (two Augusti with a Caesar under each) that succeeded them began to break down, Maximianus reclaimed the throne to support his son Maxentius' claim to be Caesar. Persuaded to abdicate once more by Diocletian in 308, he lived at the court of Constantine, who had recently married his daughter Fausta. Maximian died in 310 shortly after the suppression of a revolt raised by him against Constantine.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empires. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. Although Maximianus has been overshadowed in the annals of history by the great figures of Constatnine and Diocletian, it is certainly not from lack of effort and scheming on his part. Although he might not have ever held the true power of an emperor, one could not tell from his coinage alone. This coin is more than a memorial to a leader; it is an artifact of an empire passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.