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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. 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.


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; $1350.00 (€1201.50)
 


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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, 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 in exergue; $300.00 (€267.00)
 


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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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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.
RB79762. Copper as, RIC II, part 1, 756; BMCRE II 469; BnF III 500; Cohen I 333; Hunter I -; cf. SRCV 2807 (COS XV), VF, excellent style, well centered and struck, areas of light corrosion, weight 10.306 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 92 - 94 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XVI CENS PER P P, laureate head right; reverse MONETA AVGVSTI, Moneta standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C flanking across field; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


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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
RS79263. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 921 (C2); RSC II 47; BMCRE II Vespasian 193; BnF III Vespasian 169; SRCV I 2637, Choice gF, nice portrait, toned, perfect centering, weight 3.350 g, maximum diameter 19.4 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; ex Forum (2014); $180.00 (€160.20)
 


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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.
RS79262. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Titus 266 (C2); RSC II 397a; BMCRE II Titus 92; BnF III Titus 76; SRCV I 2676, Choice aVF, toned, centered, weight 3.455 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar under Titus, 80 - 81 A.D.; obverse CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII•, laureate head right; reverse PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, flaming and garlanded altar; ex Forum (2014); $165.00 (€146.85)
 


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; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


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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
RS79251. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 787 (C2); BMCRE II 230; RSC II 292; BnF III 206; Hunter I 91, Choice VF, light rose toning on mint luster, reverse die wear, weight 3.231 g, maximum diameter 18.4 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 advancing right, brandishing spear in right, shield in left; ex Forum (2011); $155.00 (€137.95)
 


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 flanking across field; rare; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


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Sometime between 77 and 79 A.D. Pliny the Elder published Naturalis Historia (The Natural History). An early encyclopedia, it is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover all ancient knowledge. The work's subject area is thus not limited to what is today understood by natural history; Pliny himself defines his scope as "the natural world, or life." The work is divided into 37 books, organized into ten volumes. These cover topics including astronomy, mathematics, geography, ethnography, anthropology, human physiology, zoology, botany, agriculture, horticulture, pharmacology, mining, mineralogy, sculpture, painting, and precious stones. The Natural History became a model for later encyclopedias and scholarly works as a result of its breadth of subject matter, it's referencing of original authors, and its index. The work is dedicated to the emperor Titus, son of Pliny's close friend, the emperor Vespasian, in the first year of Titus' reign. It is the only work by Pliny to have survived and the last that he published, lacking a final revision at the time of his death during the A.D. 79 eruption of Vesuvius. Naturalis Historia
RS76149. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 921 (C2); RSC II 47; BMCRE II Vespasian 193; BnF III Vespasian 169; SRCV I 2637, F, nice portrait, well centered on a tight flan, areas of dark toning, porous, bumps and marks, weight 3.084 g, maximum diameter 18.9 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, curved pointed wings, both showing, raising left foreleg; $150.00 (€133.50)
 




  



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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 Saturday, October 01, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Domitian