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A Domitian 'PONT' Denarius


David Atherton
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Domitian's early PONT denarii are what I would call a personal 'grail issue' - not any one coin would necessarily be termed a 'grail' in and of itself, but the PONT issue as a whole could be considered as such. They are fairly scarce and offer an intriguing window into Domitian's early evolving title sequence. I recently acquired one at auction belonging to the extremely rare Group two issue of denarii struck in 81.

 

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Domitian

AR Denarius, 3.13g
Rome mint, 81 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PONT; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: P P COS VII DES VIII; Curule chair, wreath above
RIC 8 (R2). BMC p. 299 * note. RSC 372. BNC -.
Ex Savoca Blue 142, 11 September 2022, lot 926.

Domitian seems to have been somewhat in a hurry to strike coins as Augustus after Titus' death in mid September 81 AD, presumably for a legionary donative. This denarius was struck before Domitian had been awarded the power of the tribunate (TR P) and pontifex maximus (PM). Here his only titles are Augustus (AVG), Imperator (IMP), Consul for the 7th time (COS VII), and pater patriae, father of the country (P P). Perhaps it may have taken a few days for the Senate to award the power of the tribunate to Domitian because they had assembled at the small town of Reate where Titus had died and needed to be in Rome in order to vote him the right. The religious ceremonies required for Domitian to assume the title pontifex maximus had not yet finished by this time either, here he is simply PONT, or in other words a member of the College of Pontiffs. Some have argued that PONT is the same as PM, I disagree. Titus as Caesar early on had also used the title PONT on his denarii and he was never pontifex maximus under Vespasian - only the emperor can be Pontifex Maximus or greatest priest. Although this Group 2 denarius is not part of Domitian's first RIC issue, it is very likely to have been struck within the first few days of him assuming the purple. RIC notes the chronology is not precise with these issues from 81 and they are grouped only for 'convenience'. Judging by the rarity of the Group 2 denarii they could not have been struck for any great length of time, perhaps for just a few days. The reverse features a pulvinar type carried-over from Titus's last denarius issue struck in celebration of the Colosseum's dedication. It possibly represents the pulvinar of Divus Vespasian, honouring his labours in building the structure. Missing from both the BM and Paris collections.

Please feel free to post your Domitian denarii or anything you feel is relevant.

Thanks for looking!

 

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Hello,

perhaps the coins overlap in the sequence of these issues in RIC II 1² ?

378704408_RIC_II_1_3_av.jpg.0f31042a5006fae79ec12e0f4ed75baa.jpg

788256692_RIC_II_1_3_rv.jpg.512b0202b1312e3d42ce4c6296987768.jpg

409465324_Rand_RIC_II_1_3.jpg.9176263291172f851f33a6bdf644f1e0.jpg

Domitian

Denar (Rom 81 n.Chr.) 2,94g, 18mm,
Av.: IMP CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG
Rv.: TR P COS VII
RIC II 1² Domitian 3 (R)

http://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.2_1(2).dom.3

On this coin Domitian "is" already AVG, IMP, TR P and COS VII but not DES VIII, P P and PONT.

Congrats on the coin David Atherton ! I had seen it too and almost bid on it too ...

With friendly greetings from Germany

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Domitian. as Caesar. AD 69-81. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.30g, 4h). Rome mint. Struck under Vespasian, AD 77-78. Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Laureate head right. Rev: COS V in exergue, soldier on horseback galloping right, raising right hand. Ref: RIC II.1 957 (Vespasian); RSC 49a. Iridescent cabinet tone, shallow scratches under tone, slightly granular surfaces. Very Fine. From the Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection.

image.jpeg.1a622f5a1f9aee09e603d2d87340b5d5.jpeg

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4 minutes ago, Edessa said:

Domitian. as Caesar. AD 69-81. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.30g, 4h). Rome mint. Struck under Vespasian, AD 77-78. Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Laureate head right. Rev: COS V in exergue, soldier on horseback galloping right, raising right hand. Ref: RIC II.1 957 (Vespasian); RSC 49a. Iridescent cabinet tone, shallow scratches under tone, slightly granular surfaces. Very Fine. From the Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection.

Ouh! Thats a very interesting reverse! Fantastic! 😍 
Thanks for sharing!

 

5 hours ago, David Atherton said:

Thanks for looking!

Thanks again for the interesting topic. I happy read so interesting stuff here in the forum.

 

@David Atherton - master of the Flavians. I have an OT question - and in dont want open a extra new thread. lets look you can help me. 

When I am looking all the auctions in the rubric "provincial romans" I see all emperors in a few pieces. From Augustus, Tiberius, Nero... also the adoptive caesars (Trajan's and Hadrians so much), especially the Severan Emperors to Gordianus and Philippus - there are so many of provincial bronzen from so many cities and different designs. But - maybe it's just imagination - provincial coins from the Flavians are so rare. In every auction I see nothing... maximal 1, 2 or 3 provincial bronze pieces. But not so much as the other emperors. As I said, is that just my subjective imagination - or is it true? And if so, why is that? I'm talking about bronze provincial mintings - not pieces of silver.

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image.png.057ba789ee5f1e57ed622649f07e0cfd.png

Domitian, 81-96 AD, AR denarius (3.57g), Rome, 95-96 AD, RIC-788, Cohen-293, laureate head right, IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV // Minerva advancing right on top of rostral column, brandishing spear and holding shield, owl at her left foot, IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P PP, ex Numismatica Ars Classica Auction 4/A (1991), Lot 1791.

 

And - back to the topic - I still waiting for this Domitianus Denarius - my last buy from Stephen Album Rare Coins Auction - is on the way to me.

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14 minutes ago, Prieure de Sion said:

 

 

@David Atherton - master of the Flavians. I have an OT question - and in dont want open a extra new thread. lets look you can help me. 

When I am looking all the auctions in the rubric "provincial romans" I see all emperors in a few pieces. From Augustus, Tiberius, Nero... also the adoptive caesars (Trajan's and Hadrians so much), especially the Severan Emperors to Gordianus and Philippus - there are so many of provincial bronzen from so many cities and different designs. But - maybe it's just imagination - provincial coins from the Flavians are so rare. In every auction I see nothing... maximal 1, 2 or 3 provincial bronze pieces. But not so much as the other emperors. As I said, is that just my subjective imagination - or is it true? And if so, why is that? I'm talking about bronze provincial mintings - not pieces of silver.

 

The provinces struck a fairly rich and diverse coinage under the Flavians... especially under Domitian. From the second century onwards provincial coinage production really started cranking up, which is perhaps what you are noticing. 

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2 minutes ago, David Atherton said:

The provinces struck a fairly rich and diverse coinage under the Flavians... especially under Domitian. From the second century onwards provincial coinage production really started cranking up, which is perhaps what you are noticing. 

Thank you!

Of course - in the second century the minting of non-ferrous metals literally "exploded" in the provinces. 

Ok. Then it is probably the case that many Flavian collectors were reluctant to give away their provincial bronzes. That's why I see so few in the auctions 😄 

 

Edited by Prieure de Sion
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  • 1 month later...

@David Atherton..Interesting write up Thanks and a cool looking coin!

Domitian. 81-96 AR Denarius (3.17 gm, 18mm). Rome mint. Struck 81 AD.
Obv.: IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG P M, laureate head right.
Rev.: TR P COS VII DES VIII P P, tripod surmounted by a dolphin right. RICII# 74.
These early type portraits are my favourite and coupled with an interesting reverse, the tripod and dolphin, being symbols of Apollo.

20211114_DOMITIAN-WHITE.jpg.00f51b524b6a70555ce97e15e5e0e5d9.jpg

 

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Excellent denarius David! I only have one Domitian PONT denarius that comes from our friend:

Domitian_RIC_40.jpg.c7b925e277375c2047518789290fa54b.jpg

 

IMP CAES DOMITANVS AVG PONT
Laureate head right

TR P COS VII DES VIII P P
Seat, draped, above, a winged thunderbolt placed horizontally.

Rome 81 CE

2.87g

RIC 40 (R2)

Ex-Lucernae Catawiki auction May 2019; Ex-A. Short Collection

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