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A Budget Beauty

David Atherton

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I have always wanted a Julia Titi dupondius to add to the collection, but the prices of her bronzes tend to be astronomical. Recently, I came across this budget example with pleasing surfaces and patina, but also with a decent amount of wear. I was willing to take the trade off ... I tend to be more forgiving when it comes to wear than surfaces.



Julia Titi [Titus]

Æ Dupondius, 10.29g
Rome mint, 80-81 AD
Obv: IVLIA IMP T AVG F AVGVSTA; Bust of Julia Titi, draped, r., hair piled high in front and coiled in bun at back
Rev: VESTA in exergue; S C in field; Vesta std. l., holding palladium and sceptre
RIC 398 (C). BMC 257. BNC 271.
Acquired from Dmitry Markov Coins, December 2022.

Titus's daughter Julia Titi was granted the title Augusta during his reign sometime in 80 or 81. A small issue of dupondii were struck to commemorate the occassion, most of which are fairly scarce today. This Vesta reverse type is probably one of the more commonly encountered varities of the issue. Julia is shown on this example sporting the classic Flavian style female hairdo that became very fashionable at the time. After Titus's death she lived with her uncle Domitian at the imperial residence. In 90 or 91 AD she died and was deified by Domitian, this was commemorated on the coinage as well. The ancient sources are quick to malign her reputation in the name of smearing Domitian. It is said she had an ongoing affair with Domitian and became pregnant. She then was forced by Domitian to abort the baby and died during the attempted abortion sometime in 90 or 91. The Flavian historian Brian Jones has called the supposed affair between Domitian and his niece Julia (some ten or eleven years his junior) and the subsequent forced abortion which killed her as "implausible" and "nonsense". Further he wrote "Scholars seem not to have stressed one of the most significant factors in assessing the rumour's accuracy - Martial's epigram 6.3, written not long after Julia's death and deification. In it, he expresses the hope that Domitian will produce a son, implies that the baby's name will be Julius (6.3.1) and states that (the now deified) Julia will be able to watch over him (6.3.5). Martial was neither a hero or a fool. Had there been the slightest hint of an affair between emperor and niece, he would hardly have written those lines; had Julia's recent death been caused by an abortion forced on her by Domitian, would Martial have so far neglected the bounds of 'safe criticism' and common sense as to humiliate Domitia publicly, urging her to become pregnant, to give the child a name reminiscent of her husband's mistress and finally to remember that same mistress, now dead and deified (thanks to her husband), would be able to protect the child?" No doubt, Domitian felt great affection towards his niece, however, there is no evidence that they had an illicit love affair. The incestuous rumour was spread after Domitian's death.

It is quite tragic that this young lady was used as fodder to defame Domitian by ancient writers. Even in David Vagi's magisterial work Coinage and History of the Roman Empire the unfounded rumours about Julia and Domitian's incestuous relationship are uncritically repeated. I wanted to set the record straight and present the other side of the coin, so to speak.

Please feel free to share your coins featuring imperial women (Roman Collector should have no problem!).

As always, thank you for looking!



Edited by David Atherton
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nice, honest coin

here is my Julia Titi:


Julia Titi Flavia
Augusta AD 178-182
AR Denarius
Obv.: : IVLIA AVGVSTA TITI AVGVSTI F.,Draped bust right.
Rev.: VENVS AVGVST, Venus standing right, back facing, leaning upon column to left, holding helmet and sceptre.
Ag, 3.20g, 20mm
Ref.: RIC II 388 [C2], CRE 8 [S]


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Congratulations for the acquisition! The coin is pleasant and has a nice patina, plus the elements of design are visible.

Here is my dupondius of Julia Titi (my most expensive coin - and probably the rarest royal member I have)


Julia Titi AD 80-81. Rome
Dupondius Æ
28 mm, 11,55 g
RIC II, Part 1 (second edition) Titus 392
Obv: IVLIA IMP T AVG F AVGVSTA, Bust of Julia Titi, draped, right; hair bundled high in front and wrapped in bun (sometimes small bun) in back / Rev: CERES AVGVST S C, Ceres standing left, holding corn-ears and torch


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Julia Titi's coins are hard to come by, whatever their preservation is. This is quite a nice example despite its wear David : very pleasant even patina and a nice hairdo that stands out.

I've been very lucky, almost 20 years ago, to snag the beautiful following example, even though her portrait has a kind of very "domitianesque" and "manly" look !


Julia Titi, Denarius - Rome mint, c.79-81 CE
IVLIA AVGVSTA T AVG F, Bust of Julia right
VENVS AVG, Venus leaning on a column, holding helmet and sceptre
3.03 gr
Ref : Cohen #12, RCV #2611


Edited by Qcumbor
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That is a lovely new acquisition to your numophylacium, @David Atherton! I too share your forgiveness of wear. After all, these coins were meant to be used and used they were during such a prosperous time as the late first century.

Julia Titi is one of those empresses whose coins will set one back hundreds of dollars. Denarii are easier to acquire, so the addition of pleasing bronze is always to be celebrated. I have but a single coin of this elusive empress, this well-worn denarius.


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Nice one!  I agree, I'll take a worn coin over a pitted coin any day.  




Draped bust of Julia right

Vesta seated left, holding Palladium and sceptre

Rome mint for Eastern circulation, 82 CE


RIC II 848 (Domitian) (R), RPC II 871




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