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.
In Seaby's Roman Silver Coins Volume II (RSC II) this reversetype is described as "Minerva on vessel."
RS68295. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 686 (C2); RSC II 258; BMCRE II 159; BnF III 154, gVF, light tone on luster, well centered, weight 3.472 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep - 31 Dec 89 A.D.; obverseIMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERMP M TR PVIIII, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXI COS XIIIICENS 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; $200.00 (€150.00)
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 Theatre 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.
RS68714. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 763 (C3); RSC II 283; BMCRE II 218; BnF III 193; Hunter I 88, Choice gVF, excellent portrait, light toning on luster, weight 3.606 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 93 - 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 left, helmeted and draped, thunderbolt in right, spear vertical behind in left, grounded shield at feet behind; $200.00 (€150.00)
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 (€150.00)
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 (€142.50)
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 (€142.50)
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 (€135.00)
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 (€127.50)
Divi Filius in the obverse 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; RSC II 397a; BMCRE II Titus 92; BnF III 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 (€127.50)
Roman Empire, Anonymous, Domitian to Antoninus Pius, c. 81 - 161 A.D.
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 BasilicaJulia "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 (€108.75)
Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Tomis, Moesia Inferior
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 (€105.00)
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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