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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.


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)
 


Lot of Six Flavian Denarii, 1 July 69 - 18 September 96 A.D., Unattributed, No Duplicates

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LT84632. Silver Lot, Lot of 6 Flavian unattributed denarii (Vespasian, Titus or Domitian), F - VF, toned, ex CNG, unattributed, no tags or flips, no duplicates, the actual coins in the photographs; $330.00 (€293.70)
 


Lot of Five Flavian Denarii, 1 July 69 - 18 September 96 A.D., Unattributed, No Duplicates

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LT84634. Silver Lot, Lot of 5 Flavian unattributed denarii (Vespasian, Titus or Domitian), F - VF, toned, ex CNG, unattributed, no tags or flips, no duplicates, the actual coins in the photographs; $290.00 (€258.10)
 


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Jupiter or Jove, Zeus to the Greeks, was the king of the gods and god of the sky and thunder, and of laws and social order. As the patron deity of ancient Rome, he was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad, with his sister and wife Juno. The father of Mars, he is, therefore, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome.
RB72831. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II, part 1, 702; BMCRE II 439, BnF III 476; Hunter I 176; Cohen I 314; cf. SRCV I 2766 (COS XIIII), attractive F, excellent portrait, nice chocolate tone, uneven strike with some legend unstruck and top of reverse weak, light corrosion, weight 25.472 g, maximum diameter 34.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 90 - 91 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XV CENS PER P P, laureate head right; reverse IOVI VICTORI (Jove the victorious), Jupiter seated left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, feet on footstool, Victory standing left raising wreath in his extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in his left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $270.00 (€240.30)
 


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In 77 or 78 A.D., Gnaeus Julius Agricola was made governor of Roman Britain, a post he occupied until 84. In his first year, Agricola subdued the Ordovices in Wales and pursued the remnants of the tribe to Anglesey, the holy island of the Druids. According to Tacitus, he exterminated the whole tribe. The Ordovices do completely disappear from the historical record, but considering the mountainous terrain, it is unlikely killed the entire population. Another tribe, the Silures, was either also militarily defeated or simply agreed to terms. Tacitus wrote of the Silures: non atrocitate, non clementia mutabatur - the tribe "was changed neither by cruelty nor by clemency." A Roman squadron, sent by Agricola, explored the north of Scotland for the first time, discovering the Orkney and Shetland Islands.Pre-Roman Wales
RS77156. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 921 (C2); RSC II 47; BMCRE II Vespasian 193; BnF III Vespasian 169; SRCV I 2637, VF, nice style, obverse slightly off-center, edge cracks, weight 3.366 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, early 76 - early 77 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Pegasus standing right, archaic curved wing (only near wing showing), raising left foreleg; $240.00 (€213.60)
 


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Struck on very fine quality silver during the short lived reform of Domitian. From 82 to 85 A.D. the Rome mint issued heavier, fine silver denarii in an attempt to revive the old standard used under Augustus.
RS84718. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 98 (R); RSC II 592; BMCRE II 24; BnF III 34; Hunter I -, SRCV I -, Choice VF, excellent portrait, centering and strike, attractive iridescent toning, weight 3.146 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 82 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M (counterclockwise), laureate head right; reverse TR POT COS VIII P P (tribune of the people, consul 8 times, father of the people), Minerva advancing right, helmeted, draped and wearing aegis, brandishing javelin in right hand, round shield on left arm; rare; $220.00 (€195.80)
 


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)
 


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

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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.
RB64531. Bronze quadrans, RIC II.1 243, Cohen 17, VF, weight 2.181 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, obverse IMP DOMIT AVG GERM, bust of Ceres (possibly with the features of Domitia) left, wreathed with grain; reverse bundle of three poppies and four stalks of grain, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; rare; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


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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.
RB73633. Copper as, RIC II, part 1, 650; BMCRE II 417; BnF III 545; Cohen 655; Hunter I 174; cf. SBCV I 2817 (COS XV), VF, well centered on a heavy flan, green patina with some flaking and bare toned copper high points, minor corrosion and encrustation, weight 12.962 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 88 - 89 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XIIII CENS PER P P, 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; ex Harlan J. Berk; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


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In 77 or 78 A.D., Gnaeus Julius Agricola was made governor of Roman Britain, a post he occupied until 84. In his first year, Agricola subdued the Ordovices in Wales and pursued the remnants of the tribe to Anglesey, the holy island of the Druids. According to Tacitus, he exterminated the whole tribe. The Ordovices do completely disappear from the historical record, but considering the mountainous terrain, it is unlikely killed the entire population. Another tribe, the Silures, was either also militarily defeated or simply agreed to terms. Tacitus wrote of the Silures: non atrocitate, non clementia mutabatur - the tribe "was changed neither by cruelty nor by clemency." A Roman squadron, sent by Agricola, explored the north of Scotland for the first time, discovering the Orkney and Shetland Islands.Pre-Roman Wales
RS77332. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 921 (C2); RSC II 47; BMCRE II Vespasian 193; BnF III Vespasian 169; SRCV I 2637, aVF, toned, light porosity, reverse die wear, marks and scratches, weight 3.220 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, Rome mint, as caesar, early 76 - early 77 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Pegasus standing right, archaic curved wing (only near wing showing), raising left foreleg; $135.00 (€120.15)
 




  



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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, Kevin. Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC - AD 253. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 34. (London, 2004).
Calicó, E. Xavier. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Carradice, I.A. & T.V. 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-B. 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, Jean-Baptiste. 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.A.G. 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.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. 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, March 28, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Domitian