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, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Titus & DomitianReverse
On 14 April 70 A.D. Titus surrounded Jerusalem. He allowed pilgrims to enter to celebrate Passover but this was a trap to put pressure on supplies of food and water; he refused to allow them to leave. On 10 May he began his assault on the walls. The third wall fell on 25 May. The second wall fell on 30 May. On 20 July Titus stormed the Temple Mount. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av morns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
SH90457. Silver denarius, SRCV I 2399; RIC IIpart I, 16 (R); BnF III 1, RSC II 5, BMCRE II 2, aVF, toned, weight 2.944 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Jun (or later) 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESARVESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverseCAESARAVG F COS CAESAR AVG F PR, confronted bare heads of Titus right (on left) and Domitian left (on right); Heritage CICF World and Ancient Coin Signature Auction 3032, lot 30508; rare; $600.00 SALE PRICE $540.00
'Courage' is depicted as a helmeted soldier, often a female, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.
SH72121. Orichalcumdupondius, RIC II, part 1, 706 (C2); BMCRE II 446; Cohen I 657; cf. SRCV I 2798 (COS XVI), gVF, attractive, some porosity, weight 12.650 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 90 - 91 A.D.; obverseIMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XV CENS PER P P, radiate head right; reverseVIRTVTI AVGVSTI, Virtus standing right, spear vertical behind in right, parazonium in left, left foot on helmet, S - C flanking across field; ex Pegasi Numismatics; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00 ON RESERVE
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.; obverseIMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMP 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 SALE PRICE $180.00
Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.
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 SALE PRICE $171.00
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.
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.; obverseIMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMP 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 SALE PRICE $171.00
In 94 A.D., Domitian rebuilt and rededicated the Curia Julia, the meeting place of the Roman Senate, which had burned down in 64. Construction began in 44 B.C. but was interrupted by Caesar's assassination at the Theater of Pompey where the Senate had been meeting temporarily while the work was completed. The project was eventually finished by Augustus in 29 B.C. The Curia Julia is one of only a handful of Roman structures to survive to the modern day mostly intact, due to its conversion into the basilica of Sant'Adriano al Foro in the 7th century.
RS70566. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 762 (C3); RSC II 284; BMCRE II 216; BnF III 192, Choice gVF, some mint luster, weight 3.392 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 93 A.D. - 13 Sep 94 A.D.; obverseIMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMP M TR P XIII, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva standing right on Columna Rostrata, wearing helmet and aegis, brandishing javelin in right, shield in left, owl at feet on right; $190.00 SALE PRICE $171.00
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.
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.; obverseCAESARAVG F DOMITIANVS, laureate head right; reverseCOS V, helmeted rider on rearing horse right; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
In Seaby's Roman Silver Coins Volume II (RSC II) this reversetype is described as "Minerva fighting."
RS68288. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 724 (C); Hunter I 75; RSC II 269; BMCRE II p. 336 note; BnF III -, VF, centered, toned, weight 3.503 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 14 Sep - 31 Dec 91 A.D.; obverseIMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMP M TR P XI, 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; $170.00 SALE PRICE $153.00
Divi Filius in the obverselegend 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 IIITitus 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.; obverseCAESARDIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right; reversePRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, flaming and garlanded altar; $170.00 SALE PRICE $153.00
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's 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.
RS90648. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 921 (C2); RSC II 47; BMCRE II Vespasian 193; BnF Vespasian III 169; SRCV I 2637, VF, nice portrait, tight and slightly ragged flan, weight 3.389 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, early 76 - early 77 A.D.; obverseCAESARAVG F DOMITIANVS, laureate head right; reverseCOS IIII, Pegasus standing right, curved pointed wings, both showing, raising left foreleg; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Burnett, A. & M. Amandry. Roman Provincial Coinage II: From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69-96). (London, 1999). Calicó E., X. The Roman Avrei. Vol. One: 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. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, III Du soulèvement de 68 après J.-C. a Nerva. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998). 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).
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