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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > David Atherton > Imperial Coinage of Titus
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Titus as Caesar RIC 431 [Vespasian]
Sestertius, 25.13g
Rome mint, 72 AD
Obv: T CAES VESPASIAN IMP PON TR POT COS II; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: S C in exergue; Titus stg. r., with branch and sceptre, in quadriga r.
RIC 431 (R). BMC 636. BNC 625. Hendin 1525.
Acquired from Wallinmynt, February 2019.

In 71 AD Vespasian and Titus held a double triumph celebrating their victory in the recently concluded Judaean War. The spectacular triumph was held a few days after Titus' arrival from the East in June and could be viewed as his effective homecoming party. Mary Beard has shrewdly observed that the triumph served as 'the Flavian coronation, the official launch party and press night of the Flavian dynasty.' It was the first time after Vespasian's rise to the purple that the whole family could be seen together by the Roman populace. Vespasian and Titus were identically dressed riding in matching quadrigas while Domitian trotted alongside on a splendid mount. The procession included massive towering floats depicting various 'battles' (one wonders how the makeshift naval battle on the Sea of Galilee was rendered?) that were so enormous many onlookers feared they would topple over. Booty from the destroyed Temple (the famous Menorah for one) along with other Eastern flavoured treasures were on display. Much of these treasures were likely manufactured in Rome for the event - a lavish sham in other words. The war ravaged region really didn't have much to offer in the way of razzmatazz show pieces, even the Temple's coffers were likely depleted by war's end. Despite all this, it cannot be underestimated how important this manufactured spectacle was for the young dynasty. The legitimacy and prestige the triumph provided to the family was worth every propaganda penny the regime spent on it, allowing Vespasian to announce to the world that Titus was his chosen heir. By showcasing his eldest son on an equal footing in the procession, it left little doubt who would succeed after his death. Coins were struck in all metals to commemorate the event. Here is a rare sestertius struck for Titus Caesar in 72 showing him in triumphal dress riding in a triumphal quadriga, the type is more commonly seen in silver from Antioch. The same reverse was identically struck for Vespasian, clear numismatic evidence of Vespasian's intentions for his son. The piece itself serves as a superb memento of the 'Greatest Show on Earth' triumph put on by the Flavian regime in the late First century.

The fine style portrait on the obverse is quite impressive, unmarred by three punch marks from antiquity.
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Steve P  [Mar 12, 2019 at 12:46 PM]
Wow, what a beauty (congrats David)
Jay GT4  [Mar 12, 2019 at 01:58 PM]
Simply an impressive historical coin
FlaviusDomitianus  [Mar 12, 2019 at 02:14 PM]
This type is always very attractive.
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