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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Twelve Caesars| ▸ |Vespasian||View Options:  |  |  |   

Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

After a successful campaign in Judaea (which he left to his son Titus to finish), Flavius Vespasianus was declared emperor by his troops at Alexandria in 69 A.D. Upon the defeat of Vitellius by the Danubian legions, Vespasian went to Rome and consolidated his power. He built the Colosseum and other important public works. Vespasian was popular, being both down to earth and possessed of great wit. He was responsible for the economic and military recovery of Rome and is justly regarded as one of the greatest Roman emperors.

|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.|, |aureus|
In 72 A.D. the Roman governor Lucius Flavius Silva laid siege to Masada, a desert fortress, the last outpost of Jewish rebels after the First Jewish Revolt ended in 70 A.D. Legio X Fretensis surrounded the mountain fortress with a 7-mile long siege wall and built a rampart of stones and beaten earth against the western approach. In the spring of 73 A.D., when defeat became imminent, 960 Zealots under the leadership of Eleazar ben Ya'ir committed mass suicide.
SH64148. Gold aureus, Calico I 656, RIC II 1180, BMCRE II 403, Cohen I 284, F, ding at 12 o, weight 7.128 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 270o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 72 - 73 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESPAS AVG P M TR P IIII P P COS IIII, laureate head right; reverse PACI AVGVSTI, winged Pax-Nemesis advancing right, pulling out a fold of drapery below her neck with her right hand, holding caduceus downward in left over snake at feet; ex January 2013 N.Y.I.N.C Auction, lot 2033; SOLD


|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.|, |aureus|
Vespasian, in 70 A.D., and Titus, in 71 A.D., both safely returned from the Judaea to Rome by sea voyage. This reverse, copied from Octavian, was struck on coins of both Vespasian and Titus to honor Neptune Redux and thank him for ensuring their safe return.
SH15292. Gold aureus, RIC II 46, Cohen I 273, aVF, weight 7.289 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 72 - 73 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII, laureate head right; reverse NEP RED, Neptune standing left, foot on globe, acrostolium in right hand, scepter in left hand; ex Coin Galleries closing 12 April 1994, ex Colosseum Coin Exchange; SOLD


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Titus & Domitian Reverse

|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.,| |Titus| |&| |Domitian| |Reverse|, |denarius|
On 14 April 70 A.D. Titus surrounded Jerusalem. He allowed pilgrims to enter to celebrate Passover but this was a trap to put pressure on supplies of food and water; he refused to allow them to leave. On 10 May he began his assault on the walls. The third wall fell on 25 May. The second wall fell on 30 May. On 20 July Titus stormed the Temple Mount. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
SH77005. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 16 (R), BnF III 1, RSC II 5, BMCRE II 2, Hunter I 2, SRCV I 2399, EF/aEF, light toning, tight flan, some light bumps and marks, among the finest examples of the type, weight 3.414 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Jun (or later) 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse CAESAR AVG F COS CAESAR AVG F PR, confronted bare heads of Titus right (on left) and Domitian left (on right); from the Jyrki Muona Collection; ex Helios Numismatik auction 4 (14 Oct 2009), lot 302; ex A. Lynn Collection; rare; SOLD


|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.|, |aureus|
Fortuna (equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) goddess of fortune, was the personification of luck. Fortuna Redux brought one safely home. This coin was struck to honor Fortuna, to gain her support in ensuring the safe return of Titus from Judaea.
SH37555. Gold aureus, RIC II-1 1111; BnF III 292; SRCV I -, nice F, weight 6.908 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 225o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG TR P, laureate head right; reverse FORT RED COS III, Fortuna standing right, globe in extended right hand, caduceus in left; unusual Fortuna composition; SOLD


|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.|, |aureus|
This coin may have been struck to appeal to Pax to deliver peace at the time the First Jewish Revolt was coming to its end. On 14 April 70 A.D. Titus surrounded Jerusalem. He allowed pilgrims to enter to celebrate Passover but this was a trap to put pressure on supplies of food and water; he refused to allow them to leave. On 10 May he began his assault on the walls. The third wall fell on 25 May. The second wall fell on 30 May. On 20 July Titus stormed the Temple Mount. On 4 August 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Temple. The Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av mourns the Fall of Jerusalem annually on this date.
SH87932. Gold aureus, RIC II-1 28, BnF I 17, BMCRE II 23, Hunter I 13, Calico I 607, Cohen I -, SRCV I -, Choice aVF, well centered, traces of luster in recesses, weight 6.944 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. Jan - Jun 70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse COS ITER TR POT, Pax seated left, extending olive branch in right hand, winged caduceus in left hand; SOLD


|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.|, |aureus|
The heifer depicted on this coin represents one of the famous works of Athenian 5th century B.C. sculptor Myron, considered by the ancients to be one of the finest artists. After Actium, Octavian shipped four sculptures to Rome to decorate his new temple of Apollo. To commemorate the event, gold and silver coins (of outstanding hellenistic style) were struck. After the great reconstruction of Rome, Vespasian relocated the heifers to the temple of Pax, where they were still standing in the time of historian Procopius.
SH42155. Gold aureus, RIC II-1 842; BMCRE I 178; SRCV I -, aVF, weight 7.033 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 76 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head left; reverse COS VII, heifer right; ex Ponterio; SOLD


|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.|, |sestertius|
Vespasian could speak of Rome rising again in his reign; for he signally adorned her with new edifices and repaired old buildings, which had been damaged through neglect in prior times or from the ravages of fires under Nero and Vitellius. Vespasian estimated it would cost no less than 400 million aurei to restore the city. Even its inviolable Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus had been burned to the ground in the last days of Vitellius' regime. Tacitus remarked in his Annals (xv.41), "quamvis in tanta RESVRGENTIS VRBIS pulchitudine multa seniores meminerant, quoe reparari neguibant" (Although such a great number of works beautifully restored the city, elders remembered as much that could not be repaired).
RB63451. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 195 (same dies), BMCRE II 565 (same dies), Cohen 424, gF, weight 22.81 g, maximum diameter 33.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III, laureate head right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse ROMA RESVRGES (Rome rising again), Vespasian standing left, togate, extending his hand and raising Roma (the city) who kneels right before him; armed Virtus (or Roma the goddess) stands right in the background behind, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; rare (RIC R2); SOLD


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta

|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.,| |Judaea| |Capta|, |sestertius|
This type celebrates the success of Vespasian and Titus in quelling the First Jewish Revolt. Coins commemorating this event are referred to as "Judaea Capta" issues.
SH76399. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II-1 161 (R2); BMCRE II 534; Hendin 1500b; BnF III 490 var. (IVDAEA); Cohen I 239 232 var. (same); SRCV I 2363 var. (same), F, full circle centering, a few pits, weight 26.28 g, maximum diameter 34.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III, laureate bust right; reverse IVDEA CAPTA, palm tree; on left: captive Jewish warrior standing right beside palm with hands bound behind his back, behind him a pile of weapons, shields and helmet; on right: Jewess seated right on cuirass, propping her head with her left hand in attitude of morning, her left elbow on her knee, two shields at her feet, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; from the Jeff Michniak Collection; the only example of this very rare type on Coin Archives, a superb EF example, sold on 28 September 2014 for 42,000 (Approx. $68,226) plus fees!; very rare; SOLD


|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.|, |denarius|
Ephesus peaked during the 1st and 2nd century A.D. when it was second in importance and size only to Rome, with a population estimated at 400,000 to 500,000 in 100 A.D. The city was famous for the Temple of Artemis, the Library of Celsus, and its theater, seating 25,000 spectators. Ephesus also had several large bath complexes and one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world. Water powered numerous mills, one of which has been identified as a sawmill for marble. The city and temple were destroyed by the Goths in 263 A.D., marking the decline of the city's splendor.
RS77202. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 1457; BMCRE II 475; RSC II 277; RPC II 853, gVF, excellent portrait, toned, some luster in recesses, tight flan, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.275 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, Ephesus mint, 74 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS V TR P P P, laureate head right; reverse PACI AVGVSTAE, Victory advancing right, filleted wreath raised in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; star lower right, annulet below; very rare; SOLD


|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.|, |denarius|
While Vespasian struck vast quantities of denarii, obtaining high-quality specimens can be quite difficult!

The caduceus is a wand or rod, entwined at one end by two serpents, each of whose bodies folds again in the form of two half-circles, while the head passes above the wand. It was an attribute peculiar to Mercury.
SH53586. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 684; BMCRE II 137; RSC II 361a; BnF III 112, Choice EF, exceptional portrait, weight 3.422 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 74 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESP AVG, laureate head right; reverse PON MAX TR P COS V (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 5th time), winged caduceus; ex H. S. Perlin Co., 1987; rare this nice; SOLD




  




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|OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

CAESARVESPASIANVSAVG
DIVVSAVGVSTVSVESPASIANVS
DIVOAVGVESPSPQR
DIVOVESPASIANO
IMPCAESARAVGVESPASIANVS
IMPCAESARVESPASAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSII
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSIIITRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVGCOSIIITRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASAVGCOSVTRPPP
IMPCAESARVESPASIAN
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVS
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSTRP
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVGCOSIII
IMPCAESARVESPASIANAVGCOSIIII
IMPCAESARVESPAVG
IMPCAESARVESPAVGCOSVCENS
IMPCAESARVESPAVGVST
IMPCAESVESPASAVG
IMPCAESVESPASAVGPMTRPPPCSIII
IMPCAESVESPASAVGTRPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSIIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSVIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGCOSVIIIPP
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGPMTRPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPASIANAVGPMTRPPPCOSVCENS
IMPCAESARVESPASCOSIIICENS
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARVESPASIANVSAVGPMTPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGCEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGCENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSIIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSVCENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSIIIICEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMCOSVCEN
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTPCOSIIIICENS
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTRPPPCOSIII
IMPCAESVESPAVGPMTRPIIIIPPCOSIIII
IMPVESPASAVGPMTRIPPPCOSIIII
IMPVESPASIANAVG
IMPVESPAVG
IMPVESPCAESAVGPONTMAXTRIBPOTCOSIIPP
IMPVESPCAESAVGPONTMAXTRIBPOTCOSIIIIPP
TCAESVESPASIANIMPPTRPCOSII


REFERENCES|

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A. & M. Amandry. Roman Provincial Coinage II: From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69-96). (London, 1999).
Butcher, Kevin. Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC - AD 253. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 34. (London, 2004).
Calic, E. Xavier. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Carradice, I.A. & T.V. Buttrey. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II, Part 1: From AD 69 to 96. (London, 2007).
Cayn, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J-B. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon, De Claude Ier Vespasien (41-78 aprs J.-C.), et au temps de Clodius Albinus (196-197 aprs J.-C.). (Wetteren, 2000).
Giard, Jean-Baptiste. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, III Du soulvement de 68 aprs J.-C. a Nerva. Catalogue Bibliothque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins, 5th Edition. (Amphora, 2010).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 2: Vespasian to Domitian. (London, 1930).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

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