Alexander of Carthage, usurper, 308-310/311. Follis (Bronze, 22 mm, 5.28 g, 6 h), Carthage. IMP ALEXANDER P F AVG Laureate head of Alexander of Carthage to right. Rev. S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI / PK Aquila between two vexilla surmounted by human hand, on the left, and wreath, on the right. RIC 72. Very rare. A clear and attractive example of this difficult issue with a bold portrait. Very fine.
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 this is true, means that Alexander must have changed his name from Valerius to C. L. Domitius after his accession to power. The 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 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 out a small force to Africa under Rufius Volusianus and Zenas prior to his war against Constantine I.