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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ VespasianView Options:  |  |  |   

Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

After a successful campaign in Judaea (which he left to his son Titus to finish), Flavius Vespasianus was declared emperor by his troops at Alexandria in 69 A.D. Upon the defeat of Vitellius by the Danubian legions, Vespasian went to Rome and consolidated his power. He built the Colosseum and other important public works. Vespasian was popular, being both down to earth and possessed of great wit. He was responsible for the economic and military recovery of Rome and is justly regarded as one of the greatest Roman emperors.


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; $1170.00 (€994.50)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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In the Roman Republic, and Empire, the curule chair (sella curulis, supposedly from currus, "chariot") was the seat upon which magistrates holding imperium were entitled to sit. This includes dictators, magistri equitum, consuls, praetors, censors, curule aediles, and the promagistrates, temporary or de facto holders of such offices. Additionally, the Flamen of Jupiter (Flamen Dialis) was also allowed to sit on a curule seat, though this position did not hold imperium. Livy writes that the three flamines maiores or high priests of the Archaic Triad of major gods were each granted the honor of the curule chair.
RS85571. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 6 (R); RSC II 541a; BMCRE II p. 8, 46; BnF III -; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, VF, toned, light marks and scratches, tight flan, weight 2.899 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1st issue, 21 Dec 69 - early 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TITVS ET DOMITIAN CAESARES PRIN IV, Titus and Domitian seated left, side by side on curule chairs, each holding a laurel branch in extended right hand; rare; $430.00 (€365.50)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Alexandreia Troas, Troas

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RPC II notes this extremely rare type was previously attributed to Apamea in Bithynia. The issue, however, included two reverse types, this Victory type and one with Apollo Smintheus, and the cult of Apollo Smintheus was centered on the Troad. Also, an example of the Apollo type was found at Alexandria. Both types are extremely rare. These were the first coins issued by Alexandria Troas, which otherwise did not strike coins before Antoninus Pius.
RP86548. Copper semis, RPC II 896/1 (2 spec., same obv. die); Milne NC 1953, p. 23, 6 (Apamea); Rec Gén p. 252, note 4 (same); Bellinger -; BMC Troas -; SNG Cop -, aF, tight flan, light corrosion, light deposits, reverse a little off center, weight 4.930 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, obverse IMP VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory standing right, wearing long chiton, filleted wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, D - D flanking low across field; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins, ex Sayles & Lavender (2009); extremely rare; $380.00 (€323.00)
 


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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
RS86680. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 513 (C2), RSC II 431; BMCRE II 105; BnF III 90; SRCV I -, EF, excellent portrait, attractive light toning, weight 3.532 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 73 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG CEN (Imperator Caesar Vespasianus Augustus Censor), laureate head right; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus seated left on a throne, patera in extended right right hand, left arm resting on arm of the chair; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Smythe & Co., NY; $360.00 (€306.00) ON RESERVE


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia

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Kayseri, Turkey was originally named Mazaca. It was renamed Eusebia by Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia, 163 - 130 B.C. The last king of Cappadocia, King Archelaus, renamed it "Caesarea in Cappadocia" to honor Caesar Augustus upon his death in 14 A.D. Muslim Arabs slightly modified the name into Kaisariyah, which became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control, c. 1080 A.D.
RS85572. Silver hemidrachm, RPC II 1659; Metcalf Cappadocia 17; Sydenham Cappadocia 94; BMC Galatia p. 47, 17; SNGvA 6362, gVF, well centered and struck, toned, light marks, light deposits, weight 1.452 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, c. 69 - 79 A.D.; obverse AYOKP KAICAP OVECΠACIANOC CEBA, laureate head right; reverse Nike advancing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm over left shoulder in left hand; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
In the Roman Republic, and Empire, the curule chair (sella curulis, supposedly from currus, "chariot") was the seat upon which magistrates holding imperium were entitled to sit. This includes dictators, magistri equitum, consuls, praetors, censors, curule aediles, and the promagistrates, temporary or de facto holders of such offices. Additionally, the Flamen of Jupiter (Flamen Dialis) was also allowed to sit on a curule seat, though this position did not hold imperium. Livy writes that the three flamines maiores or high priests of the Archaic Triad of major gods were each granted the honor of the curule chair.
RS86633. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 6 (R); RSC II 541a; BMCRE II p. 8, 46; BnF III -; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, F, dark toning, tight flan, bumps and scratches, legends not fully struck, weight 3.219 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1st issue, 21 Dec 69 - early 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TITVS ET DOMITIAN CAESARES PRIN IV, Titus and Domitian seated left, side by side on curule chairs, each holding a laurel branch in extended right hand; rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


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Vesta was the Roman goddess of the hearth (home) and, derived from that, was important for the security of the state (homeland). Vespasian may have been especially devoted to Vesta because he was brought up by his grandmother in home that he loved and appreciated. Suetonius wrote, "He was brought up under the care of his paternal grandmother Tertulla on her estates at Cosa. Therefore, even after he became emperor he used constantly to visit the home of his infancy, where the manor house was kept in its original condition, since he did not wish to miss anything which he was wont to see there; and he was so devoted to his grandmother's memory that on religious and festival days he always drank from a little silver cup that had belonged to her." With his coinage dedicated to Vesta, Vespasian expressed his respect for home and hearth, and his dedication to security of the state.
SL85101. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 50; RSC II 574; BMCRE II 71; BnF III 55; Hunter I 29; SRCV I 2316, ANACS VF35 (5163464), Rome mint, 72 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII, laureate head right; reverse Vesta standing left, simpulum in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, VES-TA across field; certified (slabbed) by ANACS, from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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This coin may have been struck to appeal to Pax to deliver peace at the time the First Jewish Revolt was coming to its end. 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 mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
RS86454. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 27 (C); RSC II 94g; BMCRE II 21; BnF III 15; Hunter I 15; SRCV I -, Choice F, well centered on a broad flan, toned, light marks, weight 3.198 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan - Jun (and later?) 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse COS ITER TR POT (consul again, holder of tribunitian power), Pax standing half left, olive branch extended in right hand, caduceus in left hand; from the Lucas Harsh Collection (purchased 2011); scarce; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, and raising a fold of her dress with her left hand. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men.
RB84861. Copper as, RIC II-1 894; BMCRE II 725, BnF III 757, Cohen I 457, Hunter I C3852, SRCV I -, VF, reverse rough and smoothed, weight 11.521 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 76 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESP AVG COS VII, laureate head right; reverse Spes standing left, flower in right hand, raising skirt with left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at sides; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Click for a larger photo
In the Roman Republic, and Empire, the curule chair (sella curulis, supposedly from currus, "chariot") was the seat upon which magistrates holding imperium were entitled to sit. This includes dictators, magistri equitum, consuls, praetors, censors, curule aediles, and the promagistrates, temporary or de facto holders of such offices. Additionally, the Flamen of Jupiter (Flamen Dialis) was also allowed to sit on a curule seat, though this position did not hold imperium. Livy writes that the three flamines maiores or high priests of the Archaic Triad of major gods were each granted the honor of the curule chair.
SH70290. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 6 (R); RSC II 541a; BMCRE II p. 8, 46; BnF III -; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, F, toned, tight flan, flan crack, weight 3.296 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1st issue, 21 Dec 69 - early 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TITVS ET DOMITIAN CAESARES PRIN IV, Titus and Domitian seated left, side by side on curule chairs, each holding a laurel branch in extended right hand; rare; $100.00 (€85.00)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

CAESARVESPASIANVSAVG
DIVVSAVGVSTVSVESPASIANVS
DIVOAVGVESPSPQR
DIVOVESPASIANO
IMPCAESARAVGVESPASIANVS
IMPCAESARVESPASAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSII
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSIIITRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVGCOSIIITRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSVTRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASIAN
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVS
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSTRP
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVGCOSIII
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVGCOSIIII
IMPCAESARVESPAVG
IMPCAESARVESPAVGCOSVCENS
IMPCAESARVESPAVGVST
IMPCAESVESPASAVG
IMPCAESVESPASAVGPMTRPPPCSIII
IMPCAESVESPASAVGTRPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSIIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSVIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSVIIIPP
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGPMTRPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGPMTRPPPCOSVCENS
IMPCAESARVESPASCOSIIICENS
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVGPMTPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGCEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGCENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSIIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSVCENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSIIIICEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSVCEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTPCOSIIIICENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTRPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTRPIIIIPPCOSIIII
IMPVESPASAVGPMTRIPPPCOSIIII
IMPVESPASIANAVG
IMPVESPAVG
IMPVESPCAESAVGPONTMAXTRIBPOTCOSIIPP
IMPVESPCAESAVGPONTMAXTRIBPOTCOSIIIIPP
TCAESVESPASIANIMPPTRPCOSII


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. 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).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Vespasian