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Ancient Coin - Domitian - Aureus

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Ancient Coin - Domitian - Aureus Laurate Bust / Germania Reclining
Subject Domitian
Reverse Type Germania
Denomination Aureus
Primary ID Type RIC
Primary ID 325
InscriptionObv IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII
InscriptionRev IMP VIIII COS XI CENSORIA POTESTAT P P
Material Gold
Earliest 85
Latest Possible Year 85
Weight (gr) 139.495
Period Imperial
Culture Rome


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Additional References: BMC 181. Cohen 182.

Notes: Laureate bust right, aegis on chest / Germania reclining right on shield in mourning posture with broken spear below. Issued for the conquest of today's Black Forest region.

Obverse: Domitian (Latin: Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was Roman emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.

Domitian’s youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish–Roman War. This situation continued under the rule of his father Vespasian, who became emperor in 69 following the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. While Titus held a great many offices under the rule of his father, Domitian was left with honours but no responsibilities. Vespasian died in 79 and was succeeded by Titus, whose own reign came to an unexpected end when he was struck by a fatal illness in 81. The following day Domitian was declared Emperor by the Praetorian Guard, commencing a reign that lasted fifteen years – longer than any man who had ruled since Tiberius.

As Emperor, Domitian strengthened the economy by revaluing the Roman coinage, expanded the border defenses of the Empire, and initiated a massive building program to restore the damaged city of Rome. Significant wars were fought in Britain, where his general Agricola attempted to conquer Caledonia (Scotland), and in Dacia, where Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against king Decebalus. Domitian’s government exhibited totalitarian characteristics; he saw himself as the new Augustus, an enlightened despot destined to guide the Roman Empire into a new era of brilliance. Religious, military, and cultural propaganda fostered a cult of personality, and by nominating himself perpetual censor, he sought to control public and private morals. As a consequence, Domitian was popular with the people and army but considered a tyrant by members of the Roman Senate.

Domitian’s reign came to an end in 96 when he was assassinated by court officials. The same day he was succeeded by his advisor Nerva. After his death, Domitian’s memory was condemned to oblivion by the Roman Senate, while senatorial authors such as Tacitus, Pliny the Younger and Suetonius published histories propagating the view of Domitian as a cruel and paranoid tyrant. Modern revisionists have instead characterized Domitian as a ruthless but efficient autocrat whose cultural, economic and political program provided the foundation of the peaceful 2nd century.

Denomination: The aureus (pl. aurei - "golden") was a gold coin of ancient Rome valued at 25 silver denarii. The aureus was regularly issued from the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 4th century AD, when it was replaced by the solidus. The aureus was about the same size as the denarius, but heavier due to the higher density of gold (as opposed to that of silver.)

Before the time of Julius Caesar the aureus was struck very infrequently, usually to make large payments from captured booty. Caesar struck the coin more frequently and standardized the weight at 1/40 of a Roman pound (about 8 grams). Augustus (r. 29 BC - 9 AD) tariffed the value of the sestertius as 1/100 of an aureus. The mass of the aureus was decreased to 1/45 of a pound (7.3 g) during the reign of Nero (r. 54 - 68).

After the reign of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161 - 180) the production of aurei decreased, and the weight was further decreased to 1/50 of a pound (6.5 g). During the 3rd century, gold pieces were introduced in a variety of fractions and multiples, making it hard to determine the intended denomination of a gold coin.

From Wikiepedia

Period: Imperial Rome. As the Roman Republic began to implode because of corruption and infighting among powerful members of the Roman Senate, a new type of Roman Republican coinage emerges, that of the military strongmen who dominated and fought among each other before the final fall of the Republic. The drama surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic is a story full of political intrigue, military action, betrayal, murder and sex scandals. Different parts of this story have been told and retold by ancient historians, modern day scholars, dozens of Hollywood movies and even an HBO miniseries. All of the actors in this great drama, Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, Mark Antony and Cleopatra and the last man standing at the end of it all, Octavian (later known as the first emperor of Rome, Emperor Augustus) all minted coins during this time bearing their names and propaganda images supporting their factions and political ideals.

Culture: Ancient Rome. A famous catch phrase "Rome was not built in a day" definitely applies to the Roman civilization. Rome stated as a series of small villages among the famous seven hills of Rome along the river Tiber. Eventually through conquest, diplomacy, wise policies of indirect rule and assimilation, the Romans were able to not only unify the Italian peninsula, but though a series of brutal wars against regional powers established a great Empire that spanned Europe, Asia and Africa, making the Mediterrean Sea and "Roman Lake."

All Roman coinage can generally be divided into eight time periods as described below. An interesting thing about Roman coins minted during these eight time periods is that you can literally see the "Rise and Fall" of the Roman Empire on its coinage as the sharp imagery and pure silver and gold coins of the Roman Republic and Early Imperial Period gradually devolves into crude, illegible and heavily debased coins of the "Barracks Emperors" and "Barbarian" Period.


Item created by: gdm on 2016-08-14 16:20:28

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