Domitian as Augustus. 81-96 AD. Rome

Domitian as Augustus. 81-96 AD. Rome


AV Aureus, 7.17g (17mm, 6h). Laureate head r. / Garlanded and lighted altar

Pedigree: Ex Rollin & Feuardent 26 May 1909, J. Evans, 81; Christie's 8 October 1984, property of a lady, 30 and Empire coins 10, 1989, 220 sales. From the Adda and George C. Hopkins collections

References: Faces of Power 77 (this coin illustrated). RIC 42. Calicó 929

Grade: Lovely reddish toning and pleasant strike. About EF (re1097)

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Domitian was the son of the Flavian emperor Vespasian and the younger brother to Titus who was 11 years his junior. Likely due to the sizeable difference in age, Titus was left back in Rome when his father and brother were out running the empire. Most notable was Titus’ quelling of the Jews during the First Revolt, an event that brought riches to the Romans and the building of the Colosseum. In 79 AD when Vespasian died Domitian expected to be made successor to his brother Titus. This was not however self evident and there was apparently bitterness between the brothers. Titus died only two short years later and whether it was expected or not Domitian did become Augustus. His rule was not overly accepted, particularly by the aristocracy. This dislike did not extend to the military who generally thought well of the emperor. Domitian campaigned in person which hadn’t been done since his predecessor Claudius in 43 AD. Once Domitian was murdered in 96 AD most were thrilled with exception to the military who wanted retribution by holding those responsible to punishment.  

This coin comes with an illustrious pedigree dating over 100 years. It also is a plate coin in the Faces of Power book.