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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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In 86, Dacia attacked the Roman province of Moesia. After the attack, Domitian personally went to Moesia and reorganized the province into Moesia Inferior and Moesia Superior. In the summer of 87, five or six legions crossed the Danube to attack Dacia. At Tapae they were ambushed. Almost all of the soldiers from Legio V Alaudae were killed, the Dacians captured their flags and war machines, and general Cornelius Fuscus himself was killed in battle. After this victory, the Dacian king Diurpaneus received the name of Decebalus, meaning as strong (or brave) as ten men.
RS86646. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 507, BMCRE II 103, RSC II 218, BnF III 104, Hunter I 39 corr., SRCV I 2730, Choice VF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, light toning, some die wear, light marks and scratches, weight 3.487 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 1 Sep 87 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VI, laureate head right; reverse IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P, Minerva standing right on the capital of a rostral column, helmeted, wearing aegis, brandishing javelin in right hand, shield on left arm, owl at feet on right; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $240.00 (€204.00)

Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Judaea Capta, Caesarea Maritima, Samaria

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Judaea Capta issue minted at Caesarea, Judaea. After Herod's death, Caesarea was the seat of the Roman procurator and capital of Roman Palestine for about 500 years. A riot in 66 A.D. between Syrians and Jews in the city led to the First Jewish Revolt. Paul was delivered to Caesarea when his life was threatened in Jerusalem (Acts 9:30). From Caesarea, Paul departed to Tarsus, his birthplace. Paul met the church in Caesarea (Acts 18:22; 21:8,16). Finally, Paul was taken prisoner (Acts 23:23,33) and returned to Caesarea where he was tried before Festus and King Agrippa (Acts 25:1-4; 24:6-13)
RP86862. Bronze AE 26, Hendin 1454, Meshorer TJC 391, RPC II 2304, Sofaer 25, F, scratches, earthen encrustations, weight 16.331 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 0o, Caesarea Maritima mint, c. 83 A.D.; obverse IMP DOMITIANVS CAES AVG GERMANICVS, laureate head left; reverse Minerva standing right on galley with owl on prow, shield on left arm, brandishing spear downward in right hand, trophy of captured arms behind, palm frond right, no legend; $200.00 (€170.00)

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

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In 93 A.D., Pliny the Younger was named a praetor. On 24 August 79, he along with his uncle, Pliny the Elder, witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius, during which his uncle died. Pliny rose through the cursus honorum, a series of Imperial civil and military offices, and was an imperial magistrate under Trajan. He wrote hundreds of letters, many of which still survive, that are of great historical value for the time period. Some are addressed to reigning emperors or to notables such as the historian Tacitus. His letters to Trajan provide one of the few surviving records of the relationship between the imperial office and provincial governors.
RS86371. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 742; BMCRE II 207; BnF III 186; RSC II 278; Hunter I 82; SRCV I 2736, VF, light rose toning, scratches, reverse die wear, weight 3.190 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 92 - 13 Sep 93 A.D; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XII, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva standing left, helmeted and draped, inverted spear vertical before her in her right hand, her left hand on hip; ex CNG, ex Collection DF; $165.00 (€140.25)

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

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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.
RS86168. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 Vespasian 1084; RSC II 384; BMCRE II Vespasian 265; BnF III 237; SRCV I 2642, F, light toning, well centered on a tight flan, a few bumps and scratches, edge cracks, weight 3.120 g, maximum diameter 18.3 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), Salus standing left, legs crossed, leaning against column, feeding snake from patera; $100.00 (€85.00)

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

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Virtus to the ancient Romans included valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Curiously, despite the masculine characteristics of virtus, the personification or deity Virtus was usually depicted as a female warrior, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can usually be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.
RB86364. Orichalcum dupondius, cf. RIC II-1 754; BMCRE II 468; BnF III 496; Cohen 659; SBCV I 2798; Hunter I -, aVF, well centered, some legend weakly struck, reverse double struck, areas of corrosion/porosity, weight 9.812 g, maximum diameter 31.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 92 - 94 A.D.(?); obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XVI CENS PER P P (or similar), laureate bust right with aegis; reverse VIRTVTI AVGVSTI (to the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing right, helmeted and draped, left foot on a helmet, inverted spear vertical behind in right hand, parazonium in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; ex Incitatus Coins; $70.00 (€59.50)

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

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In Domitian's time, at least 10 aqueducts supplied the city with 250 million US gallons (950,000 m3) of water per day, the public baths used half the supply.
RS86365. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 789; RSC II 291; BMCRE II 234; BnF III 208; Hunter I 93, gVF, nice portrait, well centered, light iridescent toning, mint luster in recesses, light deposits, reverse die wear, weight 3.465 g, maximum diameter 18.7 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 left, helmeted and draped, thunderbolt in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield at feet behind; ex Gitbud & Naumann auction 12 (2 Feb 2014), lot 478; $173.00 (€147.05) ON RESERVE

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

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The Flavian Palace, also known as Domus Flavia, was completed in 92 A.D. It was part of the vast residential complex of the Roman Emperors on the Palatine Hill in Rome. Well known for its grandeur, the Flavian Palace was more commonly used for purposes of state, while the Domus Augustana, an enormous, lavishly ornamented palace south of the Flavian Palace, was the Emperor's primary residence.Flavian Palace
RS86372. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 732 (C3); RSC II 272; BMCRE II 192; BnF III 178; Hunter I 80; SRCV I -, gVF, nice portrait, light toning, luster in recesses, die wear, edge cracks, weight 3.459 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 13 Sep 92 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXI COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva standing left, helmeted and draped, thunderbolt in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield at feet behind; $120.00 (€102.00)

Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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In the Roman Republic, and Empire, the curule chair (sella curulis, supposedly from currus, "chariot") was the seat upon which magistrates holding imperium were entitled to sit. This includes dictators, magistri equitum, consuls, praetors, censors, curule aediles, and the promagistrates, temporary or de facto holders of such offices. Additionally, the Flamen of Jupiter (Flamen Dialis) was also allowed to sit on a curule seat, though this position did not hold imperium. Livy writes that the three flamines maiores or high priests of the Archaic Triad of major gods were each granted the honor of the curule chair.
RS85571. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 6 (R); RSC II 541a; BMCRE II p. 8, 46; BnF III -; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, VF, toned, light marks and scratches, tight flan, weight 2.899 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1st issue, 21 Dec 69 - early 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TITVS ET DOMITIAN CAESARES PRIN IV, Titus and Domitian seated left, side by side on curule chairs, each holding a laurel branch in extended right hand; rare; $480.00 (€408.00)

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.
RP85744. Bronze AE 22, RPC II 339; BMC Macedonia p. 54, 91 - 93; SNG ANS 177; SNG Cop 100; Lindgren II 976, VF, excellent portrait, scrapes, weight 7.240 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; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 45 (3 July 2016), lot 384; $140.00 (€119.00)

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

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Catana, Qanawat Syria today, is probably the city called Kenath in the Bible (Numbers 32:42, 1 Chronicles 2:23). The Hellenistic-Roman city of Kanatha, is mentioned for the first time in the reign of Herod the Great, when Nabataean forces defeated a Jewish army. It remained an issue of contention between the two powers. From Pompey's time until Trajan's, it was a city of the Decapolis, a loose federation of cities allowed by the Romans to enjoy a degree of autonomy. Under Trajan, it was annexed to the Roman province of Syria. Septimius Severus refounded it as the Roman colony Septimia Canatha and transferred it to the province of Arabia.
GB85805. Bronze AE 13, RPC II 2092; Spijkerman 4; Rosenberger 3; SNG ANS 1259; BMC Galatia p. 302, 2; SGICV 877, aVF, tight flan, earthen deposits, weight 2.162 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 0o, Canata (Qanawat, Syria) mint, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse ∆OMITI KAIΣAP, laureate head left; reverse towered and draped bust of Tyche left, hair in chignon, KANATA downward behind, ZNP (year 157 of Pompeian era) upward on left; ex Tom Cederlind with his tag; rare; $90.00 (€76.50)





American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online -
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Butcher, K. Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC - AD 253. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 34. (London, 2004).
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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).
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Catalog current as of Saturday, March 17, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Domitian