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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ DomitianView Options:  |  |  | 

Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.

Flavius Domitianus was an effective emperor who spent much of his time in the provinces preserving order. Despite his effectiveness, he was extremely unpopular with the senatorial class at Rome. He appointed persons from the lower classes to positions of authority. Domitian's reign was marred by paranoia and cruelty in his latter years and he executed many Senators. When asked to prohibit execution of senators without a trial by peers he declined, thus dispelling the old illusions of republican government and exposing the true autocracy of his rule. In 96 A.D., he was stabbed to death in a plot, allegedly involving his own wife.


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The Arch of Titus, on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum, was completed by Domitian in 96 A.D. to commemorate Titus' victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The Arch of Titus has provided the general model for many of the triumphal arches erected since the 16th century - perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the 1806 Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, completed in 1836.Arch of Titus

SH85108. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 788 (C2); RSC II 293; BMCRE II 231; BnF III 207; Hunter I 92, EF, light toning, much luster on the reverse, areas of slightest corrosion/porosity on obverse, die wear, weight 3.273 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 95 - 13 Sep 96 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P, Minerva standing right on Columna Rostrata, wearing helmet and aegis, brandishing javelin in right hand, shield in left hand, owl at feet on right; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


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Ceres a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships, was listed among the Di Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
RS70258. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 976; RSC II 30; BMCRE II Vespasian 323; BnF III 285; SRCV I 2636, F, centered, toned, weight 3.372 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 77 - 78 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS, laureate head right; reverse CERES AVGVST, Ceres standing slightly left, head left, stalks of grain in right hand, torch in left hand; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


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Minerva, equated with the Greek Athena, was the Roman virgin warrior goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the inventor of music. She was worshiped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno.
RS70322. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 58; RSC II 560; BMCRE II 11; BnF III 28; Hunter I 2; SRCV I -, Choice VF, excellent portrait, toned, weight 3.400 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, c. Oct - 31 Dec 81 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right; reverse TR P COS VII DES VIII P P, Minerva standing right, helmeted and draped, brandishing spear in right hand, round shield on left arm; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Thessalian League

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The Thessalian League was a loose confederacy of city-states and tribes in the Thessalian valley in N. Greece. Philip II of Macedon took control of Thessaly in 344 B.C and it remained under Macedonia until the Roman victory in 197 B.C. The league was reestablished in 196 B.C. but had little autonomy after Thessaly became part of the province of Macedonia in 146 B.C. BCD notes, "The League coinage for Domitian must have been quite abundantly struck. It circulated over a wide area, and for a very long time, almost certainly until the reign of Gallienus."
RP83541. Bronze diassarion, RPC II 277; Rogers 88; Burrer p. 167, 1 ff.; BCD Thessaly I 1407; BCD Thessaly II 946; BMC Thessaly p. 7, 76; SNG Cop 339; SNG Munchen 253, F, well centered, marks and scratches, centration dimple on reverse, weight 5.427 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalian League mint, 1st emission, c. 13 Sep 81 - 83 A.D.; obverse ∆OMITIANON KAIΣAPA ΘEΣΣAΛOI, laureate head of Domitian right; reverse ∆OMITIAN ΣEBAΣΣTHN, draped bust of Domitia Longina right, her hair in a long queue tied up at the back; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was home to an imperial cult, worshiping the living emperor, and to a cult dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos. The reverse likely depicts a local statue of Artemis Tauropolos.
RP84053. Bronze AE 19, RPC II 339; BMC Macedonia p. 54, 91 - 93; SNG ANS 177; SNG Cop 100; Lindgren II 976, F, obverse off-center, edge cracks, some corrosion, weight 2.952 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 13 Sep 81 - 18 Sep 96 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAICAP ∆OMITIANOC, laureate head right; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITΩN, Artemis Tauropolos standing left, kalathos on head, long torch before her in right hand, small branch in left hand downward at side, grounded shield behind; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Vespasian the Younger, Caesar, 94 - 95 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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In 94 A.D., because he had no heir, Domitian adopted his two young great-nephews. He renamed them Vespasian and Domitian. The next year he executed the boys' father, his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, and exiled the boys' mother, his niece, Flavia Domitilla. They were charged with Atheism, a charge sometimes applied to condemn converts to Judaism or Christianity. The boys then disappeared from history and their fate is unknown.

Smyrna was the only city to strike coins in the name of Vespasian the Younger. No coins were struck for his brother.

Some scholars connect Domitilla with a Roman Matron in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10b) and the Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.25. When the emperor had decreed that in 30 days, the Senate would confirm an edict to kill all Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, the Roman matron convinced her husband to stand up for the Jews. If that identification is correct, her husband Flavius Clemens converted to Judaism, after having contact with the great sage Rabbi Akiva. Flavia Domitilla is a saint in both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
SH83453. Bronze AE 16, Klose p. 244, 3, pl. 31 (V1/R1); RPC II 1028; SNG Cop 1360; SNGvA 2208; BMC Ionia p. 276, 320, gF/F, weight 2.790 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna mint, as caesar, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse OYOCΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare head right; reverse ZMYPNAIΩN, Nike standing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Solidus Numismatik, auction 7, lot 200; rare; $1300.00 (€1157.00)
 


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The issue "IMP XVII" was a short one, with rare coins, same as IMP XV, XVI and XVIII. These four victories came in a quick row in late summer and fall of 88 A.D. most important of them likely being that of Tettius Julianus over the Dacians. One interesting sub-issue of this group consists of coins with a special, longer obverse legend: the name of the emperor is spelled in full DOMITIANVS instead of the usual DOMIT. We may speculate that these special coins were minted in parallel (perhaps for ceremonial, games related purpose) with the varieties of the LVD SAEC FEC (Secular Games) issue, which can have a long obverse legend too (and sometimes a left facing portrait or outward legend).
RS83902. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 659 (R); BMCRE II 149; BnF III 140; RSC II 245; cf. SRCV 2732 (IMP XIX), F, well centered, toned, weight 3.297 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 88 - 13 Sep 89 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laureate head right; reverse IMP XVII COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva standing left, helmeted and draped, thunderbolt in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield on left side behind; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; rare; $115.00 (€102.35)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was home to an imperial cult, worshiping the living emperor, and to a cult dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos. The reverse likely depicts a local statue of Artemis Tauropolos.
RP79971. Bronze AE 22, RPC II 339; BMC Macedonia p. 54, 91 - 93; SNG ANS 177; SNG Cop 100; Lindgren II 976, F, green patina, weight 5.991 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 13 Sep 81 - 18 Sep 96 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAICAP ∆OMITIANOC, laureate head right; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITΩN, Artemis Tauropolos standing left, kalathos on head, long torch before her in right hand, small branch in left hand downward at side, grounded shield behind; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


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From the extensive series commemorating the Secular Games held in Autumn of 88 A.D.
RS77275. Silver denarius, RIC II 596, RSC II 76, BnF III 120, BMCRE II 131, SRCV I 2723, VF, centered, toned, die wear, marks, weight 3.206 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep - 31 Dec 88 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laureate head right; reverse COS XIIII LVD SAEC FEC, herald wearing feathered cap, advancing left, wand in right, shield decorated with helmeted bust of Minerva on left arm; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


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In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius spawned a deadly cloud of volcanic gas, stones, ash and fumes to a height of 33 km (20.5 miles), spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. The towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were obliterated and buried underneath massive pyroclastic surges and lava. An estimated 16,000 people died from the eruption. Historians have learned about the eruption from the eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger, a Roman administrator and poet.
RS79265. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, V1081; RSC II 393; BMCRE II V269; BnF III V249; SRCV I 2643, aVF, toned, well centered, bumps and marks, weight 3.203 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 79 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI•, laureate head right; reverse PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS (the first of youths), clasped hands holding legionary eagle on prow; $110.00 (€97.90)
 










OBVERSE LEGENDS

CAESARAVGFDOMITIANCOSII
CAESARAVGFDOMITIANVS
CAESARAVGFDOMITIANVSCOSII
CAESARAVGFDOMITIANVSCOSIII
CAESARAVGFDOMITIANVSCOSIIII
CAESARAVGFDOMITIANVSCOSV
CAESARAVGFDOMITIANVSCOSVI
CAESARAVGFDOMITIANVSCOSVII
CAESARDIVIAVGVESPFDOMITIANVSCOSVII
CAESARDIVIFDOMITIANVSCOSVII
CAESAVGFDOMITCOSII
CAESAVGFDOMITCOSIII
CAESAVGFDOMITIANCOSII
CAESDIVIAVGVESP
CAESDIVIFDOMITIANVSCOSVII
CAESDIVIVESPFDOMITIANCOSVII
DOMITIANVSAVGGERM
DOMITIANVSAVGGERMANICVS
DOMITIANVSAVGVSTVS
DOMITIANVSCAESARAVGF
IMPCAESARDOMITIANVSAVG
IMPCAESDIVIVESPFDOMITIANAVG
IMPCAESDIVIVESPFDOMITIANAVGPM
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMANPMTRPVII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXI
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXICENSPOTPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXICENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXIICENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXIIICENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXIIIICENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXVCENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXVICENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMCOSXVIICENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMCOSVII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPOTV
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPIIII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPV
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPVI
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPVII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPVIII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPVIIICENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPVIIII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPX
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPXI
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPXII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPXIII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPXIIII
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPXV
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPXVI
IMPCAESDOMITAVGGERMPMTRPVIIICENSPERPP
IMPCAESDOMITIANAVGGERMCOSX
IMPCAESDOMITIANAVGGERMCOSXI
IMPCAESDOMITIANAVGGERMANIC
IMPCAESDOMITIANAVGGERMANICVS
IMPCAESDOMITIANAVGGERMV
IMPCAESDOMITIANAVGPMCOSVII
IMPCAESDOMITIANAVGPMCOSVIII
IMPCAESDOMITIANVSAVGGERMANIC
IMPCAESDOMITIANVSAVGGERMANICVS
IMPCAESDOMITIANVSAVGPM
IMPCAESDOMITIANVSAVGPONT
IMPDOMITAVGGERM
IMPDOMITAVGGERMCOSXI
IMPDOMITIANCAESDIVIVESPFAVGPMTRPPPCOSVII
IMPDOMITIANCAESDIVIVESPFAVGPMTRPPPCOSVIII
IMPDOMITIANVSAVG


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
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Butcher, K. Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC - AD 253. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 34. (London, 2004).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Carradice, I. & T. Buttrey. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II, Part 1: From AD 69 to 96. (London, 2007).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon, De Claude Ier à Vespasien (41-78 après J.-C.), et au temps de Clodius Albinus (196-197 après J.-C.). (Wetteren, 2000).
Giard, J. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, III Du soulèvement de 68 après J.-C. a Nerva. Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 2: Vespasian to Domitian. (London, 1930).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Domitian