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Home>Catalog>RomanCoins>TheTwelveCaesars>Domitian PAGE 1/4123»»»

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. 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. Domitian's reign was marred by paranoia and cruelty in his latter years and he executed many Senators. In 96 A.D. he was stabbed to death in a plot, allegedly involving his own wife.


Click for a larger photo In 91 or 92 A.D., the poet Statius published his intended magnum opus, Thebaid. The poem's theme is the myth of the Seven Against Thebes, the story of the battle between the sons of Oedipus for the throne of Thebes. The poem is divided into twelve books in imitation of Virgil's Aeneid and is composed in dactylic hexameter. Earlier critics in the 19th and 20th century considered the poem elaborate flattery that vindicated the regime of Domitian, however, more recent scholars have viewed the poem as a subversive work that criticizes the authoritarianism and violence of the Flavians by focusing on extreme violence and social chaos. Statius' use of allegory and his abstract treatment of the gods has been seen as an important innovation in the tradition of classical poetry which ushered in Medieval conventions. Finally, although earlier scholars criticized the style of the poem as episodic, current scholars have noted the subtlety and skill with which Statius organizes and controls his narrative and description.
RS68725. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 721 (C2); RSC II 264; BMCRE II 181; BnF III 169, VF, toned, weight 3.496 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 90 - 13 Sep 91 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P X, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P, Minerva standing left, thunderbolt in right, spear vertical behind in left, shield at feet behind; $200.00 (€174.00)

Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.
Click for a larger photo 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 flanking across field; rare; $190.00 (€165.30)

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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
RS70562. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 741 (C3); RSC II 279; BMCRE II 205; BnF III 185, gVF, some luster, well centered on a typical tight flan, weight 3.541 g, maximum diameter 18.9 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, thunderbolt in right, spear vertical behind in left, grounded shield at feet behind; $190.00 (€165.30)

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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
RS70179. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 957; RSC II 49; BMCRE II 234; BnF III 207; SRCV I 2638, VF, superb portrait, toned, weight 3.303 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 77 - 78 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS, laureate head right; reverse COS V, helmeted rider on rearing horse right; $180.00 (€156.60)

Click for a larger photo Divi Filius in the obverse legend declares that Domitian is "son of the divine." His father, Vespasian, had been deified by the Senate and Domitian was now the son of a god.
RS68306. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Titus 266 (C2); RSC II 397a; BMCRE II Titus 92; BnF III Titus 76; SRCV I 2676, VF, weight 3.415 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 80 - 81 A.D.; obverse CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right; reverse PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, flaming and garlanded altar; $170.00 (€147.90)

Roman Empire, Anonymous, Domitian to Antoninus Pius, c. 81 - 161 A.D.
Click for a larger photo RIC identifies this type as common but it appears to be rare with the dove facing left.

Quadrantes, like quinarii, were issued only occasionally, perhaps exclusively for imperial distributions. Suetonius reported that, from the roof of the Basilica Julia "Caligula threw coins among the people." Perhaps this small coin was thrown to the crowd by the emperor himself at a similar event.
RB63623. Bronze quadrans, RIC II p. 218, 25, VF, weight 1.847 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 81 - 161 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Venus right; reverse dove standing left, S C in ex; rare; $145.00 (€126.15)

Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Tomis, Moesia Inferior
Click for a larger photo Tomis (Constanta, Romania today) was founded by Greek colonists around 600 B.C. on the Black Sea shore for trade with the local Getic population. The Roman poet Ovid was banished by Augustus to Tomis in 8 A.D. and died there eight years later. By his account, Tomis was "a town located in a war-stricken cultural wasteland on the remotest margins of the empire."
RP68780. Bronze AE 18, Varbanov 4646 (R6), AMNG I/II 2592, SNG Cop -, SNG Stancomb -, BMC Thrace -, VF, weight 4.517 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Tomis (Constanta, Romania) mint, obverse ∆OMETIANO-C KAICA ΓEPM, laureate head right; reverse TOM−ITΩN, Nike standing left on globe, wreath in right, palm frond in left; scarce; $140.00 (€121.80)

Click for a larger photo In 91 A.D., Pliny the Younger was named a tribunus plebis. 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.
RS70129. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 719 (C2); RSC II 265; BMCRE II 176; BnF III 166; Hunter I -, VF, nice portrait, well centered on a tight flan, weight 3.588 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 90 - 13 Sep 91 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P X, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXI COS XV CENS P P P, Minerva advancing right, wearing helmet and aegis, brandishing spear in right hand, shield in left; $130.00 (€113.10)

Click for a larger photo
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

RS70205. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 921 (C2); RSC II 47; BMCRE II Vespasian 193; BnF III Vespasian 169; SRCV I 2637, gF, toned, weight 3.408 g, maximum diameter 20.0 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; $130.00 (€113.10)

Click for a larger photo The pulvinar (plural pulvinaria) was a special couch used for displaying images of the gods, that they might receive offerings at ceremonies such as the lectisternium or supplicatio. In the famous lectisternium of 217 B.C., on orders of the sibylline books, six pulvinaria were arranged, each for a divine male-female pair, identified by Livy as:
Jupiter-Juno
Neptune-Minerva
Mars-Venus
Apollo-Diana
Vulcan-Vesta
Mercury-Ceres
RS70224. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Titus 271; RSC II 399a; BMCRE II 98; BnF III 79; SRCV I 2677, gF, excellent portrait, centered, toned, weight 3.208 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 80 A.D.; obverse CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right; reverse PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, pulvinar of Minerva: Corinthian helmet right on a draped facing throne without back; $130.00 (€113.10)



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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
IMPDOMITIANCAESDIVIVESPFAVGPMTRPPPCOSVI
II IMPDOMITIANVSAVG


REFERENCES

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).
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. Catalogue 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).

Catalog current as of Monday, March 02, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Domitian