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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > David Atherton > Imperial Coinage of Vespasian
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∆ Dupondius, 11.14g
Lyon mint, 71 AD
RIC 1160 (R2). BMC 809.
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS III; Head of Vespasian, radiate, r.; globe at point of bust
Rev: VICTORIA NAVALIS; S C in field; Victory stg. r. on prow, with wreath and palm
Acquired from Victor's Imperial Coins, September 2018.

The Victory on prow type is traditionally attributed to the naval victory Vespasian won on Lake Gennesaret (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.

This Victoria Navalis dupondius struck at Lugdunum (Lyon) is much rarer than the Rome mint variants, which are more commonly seen on the As issues. The 'severe' portrait along with the globe at the base of the neck help to distinguish them from their Rome mint counterparts.
File information
Album name:David Atherton / Imperial Coinage of Vespasian
File Size:73 KB
Date added:Sep 12, 2018
Dimensions:900 x 430 pixels
Displayed:88 times
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FlaviusDomitianus  [Sep 12, 2018 at 07:44 AM]
Nice example, I like it.
Britanikus  [Sep 13, 2018 at 04:08 AM]
Carausius  [Sep 13, 2018 at 01:53 PM]
Interesting coin and story.
ancientdave  [Sep 22, 2018 at 06:00 AM]
Another nice bronze!
quadrans  [Oct 23, 2018 at 11:58 AM]
Nice piece..