GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, a common late Roman coin type

     For an overview of Roman coins of the First Tetrarchy, begin here. This page is a detailed look at the most common type of the follis (or "nummus") denomination, struck 294-310.

Genius standing left with a (small) modius* on his head and holding a patera and cornucopia, naked but for a cloak ("chlamys") over his left shoulder and hanging down behind the cornucopia. Legend:  GENIO POPVLI ROMANI

This page illustrates folles of Diocletian, founder of the first tetrarchy of the Roman Empire. There are four more pages for other rulers who used this type: 
     Maximian
ConstantiusGalerius, and other later rulersSeverus IIMaximinus II, and Constantine
     Other pages have antoniniani (a.k.a. aureliani) of Diocletian and the other tetrarchs

By mint. Another page organizes portraits by mint.



     * RIC makes a distinction between a "modius on head"  and a "head towered" . Often the headdress is somewhere in between these examples and it is so hard to draw the line that I have decided not to attempt to make the distinction. It is not obvious it is an meaningful difference. 

The quarter-follis. The same legend and design is on the much-smaller quarter-follis denomination, which has its own page.
 


What's new?  August 18:  Constantius at Trier.
      July 22: Galerius at Lugdunum
March 23:  Galerius of Nicomedia. Galerius at Serdica. Constantius at Nicomedia.
                        Feb 6: Diocletian, helmeted at Trier.
                        Jan. 6, 2020: Diocletian at Ticinum and at Rome.  Severus II at Heraclea

The main reference work is Roman Imperial Coinage, volume VI. Next is a list of all the mints for this type:

London, Treveri (Trier), Lugdunum (Lyons), Ticinum, Aquileia, RomeSiscia, Serdica (none here), Thessalonica (none here), Heraclea, Nicomedia (none here), Cyzicus, Antioch, Alexandria. [Carthage and Ostia are also in RIC volume VI, but neither minted this type.]
 

            (Click the obverse image to go to a larger image of both sides and its description.) 

                     London                      London                      London             London, ancient imitation
                     Trier                      Trier                          Trier                        Lyons
                       Ticinum                     Aquileia                         Rome                      Siscia
                     Heraclea                      Cyzicus                       Antioch                       Antioch
                 Alexandria                       Alexandria         Alexandria. ancient imitation

                      Alexandria
       under Domitius Domitianus

 





Diocletian
London
28-26 mm. 8.37 grams.
IMP C DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG
LON in exergue
RIC London 1 "c. 297"

 

The LON mintmark is rare and commands a large premium.

 




Diocletian
London
27-26 mm. 10.26 grams.
IMP C DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG
nothing in exergue
RIC London 6a "c. 300 onward"

 

 

 




Diocletian
London
28 mm. 10.42 grams.
IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG
nothing in exergue
RIC London 28a "c. 303 onward"

 

 



Diocletian
London
26 mm. 4.87 grams. Very light!  It is an ancient imitation.
IMP C DIOCLETIANVS PF AG [sic]
I in feld left, II in field right
nothing in exergue
Prototype, except for the "II" fieldmark: RIC London 6a "c. 300"

London does not have field marks until c. 310, well after this reverse legend was discontinued and well after it had mintmarks in the exergue. 

 

 

 



Diocletian
Trier
27 mm. 9.86 grams.
IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG
S in feld left, F in field right
PTR in exergue
RIC Trier 582a "c. 303-1 May 305"

 

 


Diocletian
Trier
27-26 mm. 9.23 grams.
IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG
S in left field, F in right field
IITR in exergue
RIC Trier 524a "c. 302-303"

 

 



Diocletian
Trier.
26 mm. 8.40 grams.
IMP DIOCLETIANVS P AVG
B in left field, * in right field
TR in exergue
RIC Trier --, cf. p. 184ff where it has combination 1h/Z, 
where Z is listed only for Maximian and Constantius. The series is numbers 264-373, struck "298-9".

 

 




Diocletian
Lugdumum = Lyons
29 mm. 9.90 grams.
IMP DIOCLETIANVS AVG
altar left, B in right field
PLG in exergue
RIC Lyons 113a "c. 301-302"

 




Diocletian
Ticinum
28-26 mm. 8.40 grams.
PT in exergue.
RIC Ticinum 29a, "c. 295-6"

 

 




Diocletian
Aquileia
28 mm. 10.15 grams.
IMP DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG
AQP in exergue
RIC Aquileia 23a "c. 296"

 

 




Diocletian
Rome
27-25 mm. 8.33 grams
R in field left
Δ in exergue
RIC Rome 64a "c.296-7"

 

 




Diocletian
Siscia
27-26 mm. 10.24 grams.
IMP DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG
Γ in field right
SIS in exergue
RIC Siscia 108a "c. 299"

 

 

 





Diocletian
Heraclea
28 mm. 10.59 grams.
HTΓ in exergue
RIC Heraclea 17a "c. 296-297"

 

 



Diocletian
Cyzicus
27 mm. 9.78 grams.
KΓ in exergue
RIC Cyzicus 12a "c.295-296"

 

 

 



Diocletian
Antioch
27 mm. 9.54 grams.
K in left field, B over V in right field
ANT in exergue
RIC Antioch 54a "c. 300-301"



Diocletian
Antioch
28-26 mm. 9.52 grams.
Stars in lower and upper left field, crescent over Є
 in right field
ANT in exergue
RIC Antioch 50a "c. 298"

 




Diocletian
Alexandria
28 mm. 11.04 grams.
XX in left field, A over I in right field
ALE in exergue
RIC Alexandria 32a "c. 301"

 

 

The revival of the mark "XXI" suggests Diocletian's Edict of Maximum Prices was accompanied by an attempt to assure the people that the coins had the composition introduced by Aurelian, "20 parts copper and one part silver" (nearly 5% silver). Since silver was worth 100 times the value of copper, every percent mattered to the intrinsic value of the coin.
 

Diocletian
Alexandria
27 mm. 9.43 grams.
XX in left field, Є
 over I in right field
ALE in exergue
RIC Alexandria 32a "c. 301"
This coin was analyzed for its silver content by the Physics Department of Montana State University.
(You can see a tiny dull red circle in the right field above the E which was scratched to bare metal and has since toned back some.)
It is 4.0% silver and 93.3% copper and 1.9% tin. The original surface silvering (now absent) would have added about 1% to the total, making it very close the 5% expected from the XXI mark.

 

 


Diocletian, issued by Domitius Domitianus
Alexandria
26-24 mm. 8.92 grams. 
eagle at feet left, A in right field
ALE in exergue
RIC Alexandria 18a "c. 295-296"

During the revolt of Domitius Domitianus at Alexandria he issued this type in his own name and in the names of the four tetrarchs. They are distinguished by the eagle. 

 




Diocletian
Alexandria, ancient cast imitation
25 mm. 9.42 grams. (Casts tend to be smaller than the original.)
XX in left field, B over I in right field
ALE in exergue
RIC Alexandria 32a "c. 301"

 

 

 

Go to a page of folles of MaximianConstantius, Galerius, or other rulers.

Go to a page of antoniniani (aureliani) of Diocletion and the other tetrarchs.

Go to a page of links to pages about coins of the tetrarchies

Go to the Table of Contents of this educational site.