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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > David Atherton > Imperial Coinage of Domitian
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0 Domitian as Caesar RIC 492
As, 11.26g
Rome mint, 72 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS DES II; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: VESTA; S C in field; Temple, round, containing statue
RIC 492 (R2). BMC 648. BNC -.
Acquired from Forvm Ancient Coins, April 2020.

This coin has the distinction of two Flavian firsts - it's from the first issue of coinage struck for Domitian Caesar at Rome in 72 AD (here he is one of the designated consuls for 73), and it's the first appearance of the rare Temple of Vesta reverse type on the coinage during the Flavian era. This is the sixth incarnation of temple, the fifth was destroyed in the great fire of 64 AD and it originally appeared on the coinage of Nero after his restoration of the structure. Vespasian likely embellished it, which perhaps explains its reappearance on the coinage. It was a round temple mounted on a high podium and a narrow stairway approach. The columns were fitted with their own plinths and the surrounding intercolumniations laced with grillwork. The summit of the coned roof is flattened, presumably to hold a statue. The coin depitcts a cult statue of Vesta between the columns, however, this figure could also be a visual representation of Vesta's eternal flame. The Flavian interest in her cult can best be explained by their desire for connection and continuity with Rome's sacred traditions after the horrors and tragedies of the recent Civil War.

The Vesta type is considered to be quite rare, as are all Domitian Caesar's first issue coins at Rome. This specimen is also a double die match with the BM's example, a good indication of the type's rarity.

The hole located at 12 o'clock on the obverse indicates the piece may have been used as Jewellery, perhaps as a pendant. IMHO, it gives the coin a neat second life - whether in an antiquity or at a somewhat later date. More recently someone felt the need to return it to its original status as a coin and filled the hole.
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Jay GT4  [May 01, 2020 at 03:39 PM]
Great rarity!
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