Roman billon antoninianus of Maximian, from Carthage, 303Image["Roman antoninianus of Maximian, Carthage, 303"]
Image["Roman antoninianus of Maximian, Carthage, 303"]
Roman billon antoninianus of Maximian, from Carthage, 303
This antoninianus is made from billon, an alloy of silver and copper. It was minted at Carthage, in the year 303 during the reign of the emperor Maximian (286-305, 306-8, 310). By this time, Rome's old enemy Carthage had been a part of the Empire for four centuries. The obverse of this coin shows a bust of Maximian, draped and cuirassed and wearing a radiate crown with the inscription 'IMP C MAXIMIANVS PF AVG', for 'Emperor Gaius Maximian, pious and wise (pius felix), Augustus'. The reverse is inscribed with 'VOT XX / FK' in two lines inside a laurel wreath, which commemorates offerings to the gods (vota) after a 20-year reign (that of Maximian's colleague the emperor Diocletian (284-305)). The mint-mark 'FK' indicate that it was minted at Carthage. The coin was pierced and labelled 'No. 42' by Commodore Perry, and by mis-reading the inscription 'MAXIMIANVS' as 'MAXIMINVS' he mistakenly attributed it to the emperor Maximinus (235-8).