David Atherton Posted January 2 · Member Share Posted January 2 (edited) I have a special fondness for coins struck during the reign of Titus, especially those dated to 79 AD. There is something indescribably awesome about holding a coin struck within weeks, or perhaps even days, of the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in August* of that year. My latest is a sestertius dated to those early days of Titus's reign. Titus Æ Sestertius, 23.36g Rome mint, 79 AD Obv: IMP TITVS CAES VESP AVG P M TR P P P COS VII; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r. Rev: S C in field; Spes stg. l., with flower RIC 64 (R2). BMC -. BNC -. Ex Private Collection, December 2022. Spes is a common reverse type under Vespasian, connected to future dynastic hope and harmony. It continued to be struck by Titus and can be viewed as his hope for the future with his chosen heir Domitian. As Mattingly put it: '...the recurring types of Spes suggests that Titus gave Domitian full due as heir to the throne.' Suetonius would have us believe this public fraternal affection was a sham and Domitian did everything he could to plot against Titus. Dio goes so far as to say Domitian hastened Titus death by having him packed in ice! All of this can be dismissed as nothing more than post Domitianic gossip intended to blacken Domitian's name. The Flavian historian Brian Jones speculates the brother's relationship was one of 'mutual indifference and ignorance' due to their age and personality differences. Regardless, as the numismatic evidence shows, Titus looked upon Domitian as his legitimate heir until his natural death in mid September 81. The Flavian mint had a habit of not striking bronze coins in any great quantity at the beginning of a reign. That was the case with Vespasian and again under Titus. The first several months of the mint's efforts were heavily concentrated on the denarius issues, presumably for monetary donatives to the troops. All Titus's early bronze coins dated COS VII are very scarce, sometimes known from just a few specimens. This COS VII Spes sestertius is cited by RIC in Vienna, another is cited by OCRE from the ANS collection. Here it is 'in hand'. 20230102_050055 (video-converter.com)2.mp4 As always, thanks for looking!! * I am sticking with the traditional date of August instead of the more recent academic fad for October. Please see Pedar W. Foss's Pliny and the Eruption of Vesuvius for further arguments in support of the August date. Edited January 4 by David Atherton 23 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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