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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > David Atherton > Imperial Coinage of Titus

Titus as Caesar RIC 872
AR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome Mint, 76 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: T CAESAR IMP VESPASIANVS; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: COS V across field; Eagle head l. standing on thunderbolt, on Altar. Very uncommon with thunderbolt showing.
RIC 872 (C). BMC 192. RSC 60. BNC 168.
Acquired from Incitatus Coins April 2008.

I'm not quite certain what the meaning is behind the reverse (Vespasian also issued the type). The BMCRE hints that it might be a reference to the death of Mucianus which occurred around 76 AD. Mucianus was the governor of Syria who helped Vespasian rise to the purple. The interpretation here would be the eagle as a symbol of the after-life.
I've always had my doubts about Mattingly's reading of this reverse type.
the eagle when depicted on a funeral pyre or altar would represent an apotheosis type. Here there is no such pyre or altar. The eagle sits upon a garlanded base, clutching a thunderbolt (missing here), with no legend referring to the eagle specifically. The following are the three main symbolic meanings of the eagle in the Roman world: as an attribute of Jupiter, a symbol of the Roman legions, a funerary type. In the case of the above coin, my guess would be the eagle is in the guise of Jupiter since a thunderbolt is clutched. Variant version missing the thunderbolt.
File information
Filename:titus as caesar eagle l. and base.jpg
Album name:Vespasian70 / Imperial Coinage of Titus
Rating (1 votes): (Details)
File Size:36 KB
Date added:Apr 16, 2008
Dimensions:550 x 275 pixels
Displayed:150 times
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Laurentius  [May 25, 2013 at 06:28 AM]
Such a wonderful coin!
*Alex  [May 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM]