A spectacular aureus of Maximinus II
Lot 523
Maximinus II, 310-313. Aureus (Gold, 19 mm, 5.25 g, 12 h), Antiochia, 310. MAXIMINVS P F AVG Laureate head of Maximinus to right. Rev. VOTIS / X / SIC ET / XX / SMA within laurel wreath. Calicó 5048. Cohen -. NAC 78 (2014), 1148 (same dies). RIC 130. Very rare. A wonderful coin of great beauty, perfectly struck from fresh dies, very well centered, and with a bold and impressive portrait of monumental elegance. Virtually as struck.

Maximinus II was elevated to the rank of Caesar by his uncle Galerius, who became one of the two new Augusti following the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian in 305. However, it soon became apparent that the strict line of succession laid out in Diocletian's grand tetrarchic plan did not take into account unforeseen events, as when Constantius I suddenly died in 306, his soldiers proclaimed his son Constantine I as their new Augustus. The year 308 already saw six pretenders for the four offices, none of which was willing to stand back despite Diocletian's best attempts to sort things out in the same year in the Conference of Carnuntum. For Maximinus II as the sole surviving legitimate Caesar of the year 305, the appointment of Licinius I straight to the rank of Augustus in Carnuntum, without having held the position of Caesar before, was especially concerning. Growing discontent and fear of weakening of his position eventually led Maximinus II to assume the title of Augustus in May (?) 310. The present aureus was very probably struck on the occasion of this important event: it provides, for the first time, Maximinus' new title on the obverse, whereas the reverse alludes to his personal quinquennalia on 1 May of the previous year. The fact that the vows were undertaken for ten and twenty years at the same time is certainly a reflection of Galerius' and Maximinus' legitimate rise to power under the original tetrachic system of Diocletian, unlike that of their rivals in the west. However, times had changed, and Maximinus II would not outlive his uncle Galerius († 311) very long, as Licinius I attacked and defeated him in 313. Much like Galerius, Maximinus II was painted by later Christian sources as a particularly fierce persecutor; however, modern historians have come to a much more balanced view - a legacy which he shares, in an irony of fate, with his rival and defeater Licinius I.
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Closing time: 27-Oct-19, 06:00:00 CET
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