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A Monumental Portrait


David Atherton
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I could not resist this one. Although a common enough variety, the main attraction here is the obverse portrait engraved in a severe, almost monumental style. It certainly caught my eye.

 

 

V244aa.jpg.9f8677d297947f6d0fabf871dc93fc6d.jpg

Vespasian

Æ Sestertius, 26.08g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ROMA; S C in field; Roma stg. l., with Victory and spear
RIC 244 (C2). BMC 564. BNC 529.
Acquired from CGB.fr, November 2022.

Part of the third sestertius issue of 71 AD, this fairly common reverse type features Roma holding Victory. Roma is depicted in the guise of an Amazon warrior, a typical attribute for her on the coinage during the Flavian era likely based on a cult image. The massive portrait on the obverse is rendered in fine veristic style. C. H. V. Sutherland in his work Roman Coins commented on the Vespasianic portraits of the era - 'Vespasian's aes, however, and not merely the sestertii, developed a full magnificence of portraiture. Again the heads were large, even massive, and normally in high relief, giving the strong impression of the purely profile view of sculpture in the round. And, because of the larger scale which this aes permitted, a wealth of detail could be achieved: close cut hair, finely wrinkled brow, a minutely rendered profile eye, and all the jowls and neck-folds of an old man. The beauty of this work lay in its realism, strong in authority and yet delicate in execution; and it was in the addition of technical delicacy to strength of conception that Vespasian's coinage clearly excelled over Galba.' I believe this coin to be a fine example of what Sutherland had in mind.

Thanks for looking!

 

Edited by David Atherton
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6 hours ago, David Atherton said:

I could not resist this one. Although a common enough variety, the main attraction here is the obverse portrait engraved in a severe, almost monumental style. It certainly caught my eye.

 

 

V244aa.jpg.9f8677d297947f6d0fabf871dc93fc6d.jpg

Vespasian

Æ Sestertius, 26.08g
Rome mint, 71 AD
Obv: IMP CAES VESPAS AVG P M TR P P P COS III; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: ROMA; S C in field; Roma stg. l., with Victory and spear
RIC 244 (C2). BMC 564. BNC 529.
Acquired from CGB.fr, November 2022.

Part of the third sestertius issue of 71 AD, this fairly common reverse type features Roma holding Victory. Roma is depicted in the guise of an Amazon warrior, a typical attribute for her on the coinage during the Flavian era likely based on a cult image. The massive portrait on the obverse is rendered in fine veristic style. C. H. V. Sutherland in his work Roman Coins commented on the Vespasianic portraits of the era - 'Vespasian's aes, however, and not merely the sestertii, developed a full magnificence of portraiture. Again the heads were large, even massive, and normally in high relief, giving the strong impression of the purely profile view of sculpture in the round. And, because of the larger scale which this aes permitted, a wealth of detail could be achieved: close cut hair, finely wrinkled brow, a minutely rendered profile eye, and all the jowls and neck-folds of an old man. The beauty of this work lay in its realism, strong in authority and yet delicate in execution; and it was in the addition of technical delicacy to strength of conception that Vespasian's coinage clearly excelled over Galba.' I believe this coin to be a fine example of what Sutherland had in mind.

Thanks for looking!

 

Wow, the earth god was kind to the fine portrait on that coin ☺️!

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Here an AS with a nice portrait, he has a small beard around the mouth

vesp.jpg.214c59291246dac09e76c8c024993128.jpg

IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG COS III

Head laureate right

AEQVITAS AVGVSTI S/C

Aequitas standing left, holding scales and rod.

Rome A.D.71, As, 9.42 gr, 26.92 mm, RIC II 482 p.73

 

 

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