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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 (Izmir, Turkey) 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; $950.00 (€807.50)
 


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

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As Emperor, Domitian saw himself as the new Augustus, an enlightened despot destined to guide the Roman Empire into a new era of Flavian renaissance. Using religious, military and cultural propaganda, he fostered a cult of personality. He deified three of his family members and erected massive structures to commemorate the Flavian achievements. Elaborate triumphs were celebrated in order to boost his image as a warrior-emperor, but many of these were either unearned or premature.
RB86763. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II-1 752; BnF III 494; Cohen I 514; BMCRE II 465; Hunter I 187; cf. SRCV I 2774 (COS XV), aVF, attractive blue green patina, nice style, well centered, spots of corrosion, reverse a little flatly struck, weight 22.236 g, maximum diameter 34.9 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 Domitian standing facing, head left, wearing military attire, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter in left hand, Victory standing behind him, crowning him with wreath in right hand, palm over her left shoulder in her left , S C in exergue; $350.00 (€297.50)
 


Judaean Kingdom, Herod Agrippa II, 55 - 95 A.D., Judaea Capta for Domitian

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A Judaea Capta issue minted by a Jewish king! Agrippa was a devout Jew and a loyal vassal of Rome. It may seem strange he would commemorate the defeat of his people but he believed the Jews could flourish under Rome and sided with Rome during the rebellion. He ruled until at least 95 A.D. but in Syria, not Judaea.
RP85809. Bronze half unit, Meshorer AJC II 37a (same dies); Sofaer 233 (same); RPC II 2279; Hendin 1285a; BMC Palestine p. 245, 46; SNG ANS 311; Meshorer TJC 165a, VF, nice green patina with highlighting red earthen deposits, obverse slightly off center, weight 8.117 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Caesarea Paneas mint, 86 - 87 A.D.; obverse ∆OMITIANOC KAICAP, laureate bust of Domitian right; reverse ETO Kς BA - AΓPIΠΠA (year 26, King Agrippa), Victory standing right, nude to waist, inscribing shield resting on left knee, ∆O on shield, left foot on crested helmet, star upper right; ex Tom Cederlind with his tag; scarce; $250.00 (€212.50)
 


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In 92 A.D., the Flavian Palace was completed on the Palatine.
RS86681. Silver denarius, RIC II 730, RSC II 274, BMCRE II 189, BnF III 175, Hunter I 77, SRCV I -, Choice gVF, well centered, excellent portrait, attractive toning, weight 3.616 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - 13 Sep 92 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XI, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXI COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva standing right on Columna Rostrata, wearing helmet and aegis, brandishing javelin in right hand, shield in left hand, owl at feet on right; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Judaea Capta, Caesarea Maritima, Samaria

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Judaea Capta issue minted at Caesarea, Judaea. After Herod's death, Caesarea was the seat of the Roman procurator and capital of Roman Palestine for about 500 years. A riot in 66 A.D. between Syrians and Jews in the city led to the First Jewish Revolt. Paul was delivered to Caesarea when his life was threatened in Jerusalem (Acts 9:30). From Caesarea, Paul departed to Tarsus, his birthplace. Paul met the church in Caesarea (Acts 18:22; 21:8,16). Finally, Paul was taken prisoner (Acts 23:23,33) and returned to Caesarea where he was tried before Festus and King Agrippa (Acts 25:1-4; 24:6-13)
RP86862. Bronze AE 26, Hendin 1454, Meshorer TJC 391, RPC II 2304, Sofaer 25, F, scratches, earthen encrustations, weight 16.331 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 0o, Caesarea Maritima mint, c. 83 A.D.; obverse IMP DOMITIANVS CAES AVG GERMANICVS, laureate head left; reverse Minerva standing right on galley with owl on prow, shield on left arm, brandishing spear downward in right hand, trophy of captured arms behind, palm frond right, no legend; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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Jupiter or Jove, Zeus to the Greeks, is the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods. The father of Mars, he is, therefore, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In myth, he negotiated with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion including sacrifices. As the patron deity of Rome, he was remained the most important Roman god until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire.
RB72831. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II-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; $195.00 (€165.75)
 


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

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The identity of the emperors represented on the the provincial coinage of Attaleia before Trajan is difficult to determine because the coins do not identify them with an inscription. The W vice Ω in the reverse inscription indicates this coin is Flavian or later. This portrait is undoubtedly Domitian.
RP86551. Bronze AE 19, Baydur 177 (vs150/rs170); RPC II 1507 (17 spec.); SNGvA 4616; Lindgren-Kovaks 1089; BMC Lycia p. 112, 15, VF, well centered, dark patina with some earthen highlighting, spots of corrosion, weight 5.646 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Attaleia mint, 13 Sep 81 - 18 Sep 96 A.D.; obverse laureate head right, anepigraphic; reverse AT-TAΛEWN (counterclockwise from (9:00), bust of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet and aegis; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; scarce; $170.00 (€144.50)
 


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

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Despite his vilification by contemporary historians, Domitian's administration provided the foundation for the Principate of the peaceful 2nd century. His successors Nerva and Trajan were less restrictive, but in reality their policies differed little from his. The Roman Empire prospered between 81 and 96, in a reign that Theodor Mommsen described as a somber but intelligent despotism.
RS86784. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 764; BMCRE II 220; BnF III 195; RSC II 282; Hunter I 87; cf. SRCV I 2736 (TR P XII), aVF, dark toning, well centered, some obv. die wear, light marks and scratches, part of rev. legend weak, weight 2.995 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 93 - 13 Sep 94 A.D; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XIII, laureate head right; reverse IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva standing left, helmeted and draped, inverted spear vertical before her in her right hand, her left hand on hip; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


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.
RP85744. Bronze AE 22, RPC II 339; BMC Macedonia p. 54, 91 - 93; SNG ANS 177; SNG Cop 100; Lindgren II 976, VF, excellent portrait, scrapes, weight 7.240 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; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 45 (3 July 2016), lot 384; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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; $105.00 (€89.25)
 




  



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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, K. Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC - AD 253. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 34. (London, 2004).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Carradice, I. & T. 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. 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, J. 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. 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. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. 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 Friday, July 20, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Domitian