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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.


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

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In 93 A.D., Domitian persecuted Christians.
RS86784. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 764; BMCRE II 220; BnF III 195; RSC II 282; Hunter I 87; cf. SRCV I 2736 (TR P XII), aVF, dark toning, well centered, some obv. die wear, light marks and scratches, part of rev. legend weak, weight 2.995 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 93 - 13 Sep 94 A.D; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIII, 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; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


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

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In 95 A.D., Domitian had several senators and ex-consuls executed out of paranoid fears that they were plotting to kill him. Manius Acilius Glabrio belonged to one of the noblest families of Rome and had been consul in 91 (conjointly with Trajan, who would later become emperor). Domitian ordered him to descend into the Colosseum arena to fight a huge lion. Glabrio slew the animal, exciting the crowd, but Domitian still banished him and later put him to death on some false pretext. After his death, his body was brought to Rome, and buried on the Via Salaria, in the catacomb of Priscilla. Xiphilinus, speaking of the executions of 95 A.D., says that some members of the imperial family and other persons of importance were condemned for atheism; they had embraced the Christian faith.
RS86783. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 769 (C); RSC II 284a; BMCRE II 221; BnF III 197; Hunter I -; cf. SRCV I 2736x (TR P XII), VF, well centered, scratches and bumps, weight 2.969 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep - 31 Dec 94 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIIII, 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; from a Las Vegas coin dealer; $90.00 (€76.50) ON RESERVE


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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.
RS86666. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 58; RSC II 560; BMCRE II 11; BnF III 28; Hunter I 2; SRCV I -, Choice F, nice portrait, well centered on a broad flan, light toning, light marks and scratches, weight 3.169 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, 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, brandishing spear in right hand, shield on left arm; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


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 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., 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; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


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; $60.00 (€51.00)
 


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.
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; $70.00 (€59.50)
 


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 (Izmir, Turkey) 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; $1050.00 (€892.50)
 




  






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).
Burnett, A. & M. Amandry. Roman Provincial Coinage II: From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69-96). (London, 1999).
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 Monday, May 21, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Domitian