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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > David Atherton > Imperial Coinage of Domitian
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Domitian RIC-367
∆ Dupondius, 11.64g
Rome mint, 85 AD
RIC 367 (C). BMC 347.
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS POT P P; Head of Domitian, radiate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: ANNONA AVG; S C in exergue; Annona, std r., holding open on lap by two ends bag full of corn-ears; in front of her stands a small figure, l., also holding two ends of bag, and in the background, stern of ship
Ex eBay, August 2019.

A most curious reverse type was struck for Domitian on his dupondii for a short period between 84-88. Here we see Annona seated holding open a bag(?) of corn-ears and a mysterious small figure standing before her holding the other end of the bag with a ship's stern in the background. Overall, the reverse likely alludes to Domitian's care of the corn supply, hinted at by the stern, here a symbol of the all important African grain ships. The small individual before Annona has variously been described as a 'boy', a 'child', or ambiguously as just a 'figure'. H. Mattingly has the most imaginative explanation in BMCRE II - 'Annona herself, the spirit of the corn-supply, and the ship, the symbol of the overseas corn, are familiar: but who is the small figure who stands before her? He is certainly no child, but only a man reduced to tiny proportions beside the goddess; and the fact that he is bare to the waist may suggest that he is an Italian farmer. If this interpretation is right, the type records a definite policy of Domitian to encourage the growing of corn in Italy.' Mattingly may be correct about the overall meaning, but I think the figure is indeed a child, symbolic of the emperor's care, through Annona's auspices, for his subjects.

Flatly struck on one side, but in fine style.
File information
Album name:David Atherton / Imperial Coinage of Domitian
File Size:104 KB
Date added:Aug 10, 2019
Dimensions:937 x 455 pixels
Displayed:50 times
Favorites:Add to Favorites
Jay GT4  [Aug 11, 2019 at 03:56 AM]
Glad you got this, I was considering bidding
shanxi  [Aug 11, 2019 at 07:35 AM]
very interesting
okidoki  [Aug 11, 2019 at 07:48 AM]
Interesting reverse
quadrans  [Aug 11, 2019 at 07:54 AM]
Nice find...
FlaviusDomitianus  [Aug 11, 2019 at 10:05 AM]
I love this type.
Steve P  [Aug 13, 2019 at 03:02 AM]
Super sweet addition, Atherton => keep that sh*t-up, my friend!
Mat  [Aug 19, 2019 at 03:45 PM]
A nice find