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Vespasian RIC-336
∆ As, 11.55g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: VICTORIA NAVALIS; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
RIC 336 (C). BMC 616. BNC 595.
Acquired from J. Diller MŁnzenhandlung, July 2019.

A common VICTORIA NAVALAIS As struck during Vespasian's great bronze issue of 71. Traditionally, this type has been attributed to the naval victory Vespasian and Titus won on Lake Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee) during the Jewish War. By any definition it is a most bizarre 'naval' battle indeed. Near the close of the Galilean campaign, Vespasian and Titus marched to Lake Gennesaret in order to secure the cities along its coastline. Tiberias fell without much resistance, but the neighbouring city of Taricheae was a tougher nut to crack. Home to many of the Jewish rebels who had fled Tiberias, they put up a small fight on the plain outside the city and were quickly defeated by Titus' troops who then stormed the city and began slaughtering the inhabitants. Many of the rebels took flight to waiting boats they had previously commandeered on the lake. These were likely local fishing or ferry vessels not intended for use in war. Vespasian ordered the legionaries to construct large rafts in order to pursue the rebel's makeshift flotilla. With the coastline guarded by Roman horsemen the legionaries launched their rafts and sailed out in a large line toward the enemy. The Jewish boats were no match for the heavily armoured Roman rafts. The legionaries easily picked off the Jewish rebels who had no means of escape. The slaughter was intense, so much so that Josephus claims 6,500 Jews were killed. Several years later during Vespasian and Titus' Jewish War Triumph in Rome, ships were displayed to commemorate the battle. Were the Victoria Navalis coins struck with the same event in mind? As unlikely as it seems, the impromptu 'naval' battle at Lake Gennesaret is the best candidate for Vespasian striking this Actium-lite reverse type. The connection to Augustus would not have been lost on his contemporaries. Flavian propaganda at its most exaggerated.

Well centred with dark olive green patina.
File information
Filename:V336a.jpg
Album name:David Atherton / Imperial Coinage of Vespasian
File Size:144 KB
Date added:Aug 07, 2019
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Jay GT4  [Aug 07, 2019 at 03:42 PM]
Great reverse and patina
Tracy Aiello  [Aug 07, 2019 at 04:53 PM]
Great comments. So informative.