Alexander of Carthage, usurper, 308-310. Follis (Bronze, 20 mm, 4.55 g, 12 h), Carthage, spring-summer 310. IMP ALEXANDER P F AVG Laureate head of Alexander of Carthage to right. Rev. S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI / PK Aquila flanked by a vexillum surmounted by a human hand on the left and another one surmounted by a wreath on the right. Malingue 12.a#18 (AQ/12.a-M). RIC 72. Very rare and exceptionally well preserved. A beautifully struck and very attractively patinated example and undoubtedly among the finest known. Extremely fine.
From a collection formed in the Rhineland, acquired from Münzhandlung Ritter in November 1994 (with original dealer's ticket), ex Waddell FPL 62, 1994, 153 and Waddell FPL 60, summer 1993, 105.
C. L. Domitius Alexander was a vicarius africae (governor of Africa) who stirred up a revolt against Maxentius in 308 after refusing to send his son as a hostage to Rome. He is probably identical to the vicarius africae Valerius Alexander attested on an inscription dated to 303-306, which, if true, means that Alexander must have changed his name from Valerius to C. L. Domitius after his accession to power. This apparent attempt to claim ancestry from the emperor Aurelian (270-275) offers an interesting parallel to Constantine 'the Great', who in 310 famously invented a descendancy from Claudius II Gothicus and with whom Alexander apparently allied himself against Maxentius.
Unlike Constantine, however, Alexander might actually have been a younger contemporary of Claudius II and Aurelian and, thus, might have personally remembered the two great Illyrian emperors, as both Zosimos and Aurelius Victor report that he was already an old man at the time of his revolt. Nevertheless, Alexander's uprising appears to have been built on sand, as it was quickly crushed in 310 or 311 once Maxentius sent a small force out to Africa under Rufius Volusianus and Zenas prior to his war against Constantine I.