81-96AD Domitian AV Aureus

Domitian (AD 81-96). AV aureus (18mm, 6.34 gm, 6h). Fine / VG. Rome, AD 81-82. IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG P M, laureate head of Domitian right / TR POT COS VIII P P, Minerva advancing right in fighting stance, holding spear and shield. RIC 97 (R2). Calicó --. An Exceedingly RARE type, with only one other example recorded in RIC (Naville 2, 1922, lot 572). Incredible value and the only piece of this type we have ever seen. Exceedingly RARE.

Domitian has gone down in history as a depraved tyrant, but he was certainly not a madman like Caligula, nor was he an incompetent dilettante like Nero. As a young man, Domitian was largely overshadowed by his older brother Titus, a situation that probably shaped his dour, resentful character. In AD 79, Vespasian was succeeded by Titus as Augustus, with Domitian taking the junior position of Caesar. But Titus ruled only two years before he fell ill and died in September of AD 81. Domitian wasted no time in seizing power as the third emperor of the Flavian dynasty. He soon proved a conscientious, detail-oriented administrator who kept a firm hand on all facets of government. Despite his uneven military  record, the legions loved Domitian for raising their pay by nearly 50 percent. But Domitian’s suspicion of the aristocracy soon deepened into paranoia. Unsuccessful conspiracies against him in AD 87 and 89 caused him to abandon all restraint, and by AD 93 Rome was in the grip of a reign of terror. Even Domitian’s  wife came to fear for her life, and she encouraged the emperor’s personal attendants to plot against him, leading to his murder in AD 96. 


Related Items