Jump to content

Dutiful Domitian


Recommended Posts

This lovely Domitianic sestertius from 85 AD is quite a treat in hand. I simply love the bronzes the Rome mint was turning out that year. The sestertii bordered on the medallic with their idealised portraits and wide canvas reverses. This was an emperor who knew how to use numismatic propaganda to its fullest.

 

 

D277a.png.097e478932e2ed3a38bb12761f1d7582.png

Domitian

Æ Sestertius, 23.67g
Rome mint, 85 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM COS XI; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: S C in field; Domitian stg. l., sacrificing with patera over altar in front of shrine containing cult statue of Minerva
RIC 277 (C2). BMC 296. BNC 316.
Acquired from CGB.fr, January 2023.

85 AD saw the mint at Rome introduce many new types on Domitian's aes coinage, many of which are monumental in nature. This sestertius from the first issue of the year shows Domitian sacrificing in front of a small shrine. Mattingly in BMCRE (p. xciii) had this to say concerning the type - 'Minerva is not represented here by her own types, as on the gold and silver, but by a type that recurs year after year of Domitian sacrificing before the goddess in a shrine. While recording his achievements, Domitian does not omit to acknowledge the goddess to whom they are due.' The nod here to Minerva is quite pious. The shrine in question is a mystery and may perhaps just be a generic design to frame the cult image.

 

In hand.

 

 

As always, thanks for looking!

  • Like 11
  • Smile 1
  • Heart Eyes 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A spectacular coin, congratulations! I must admit, I'm a bit envious, as I find this a very desirable type and would love to add it to my modest collection one day 😁 

The video is a nice touch too, it allows for better view of the details and makes the coin come alive so to say. 

Edit: wanted to ask, perhaps my memory fails me, but I thought I read somewhere, that the altar on the coin was the altar that once stood in the palace of Domitian, on the Palatine hill? 

Edited by Limes
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Limes said:

Edit: wanted to ask, perhaps my memory fails me, but I thought I read somewhere, that the altar on the coin was the altar that once stood in the palace of Domitian, on the Palatine hill? 

K. Scott in his Le « Sacrarium Minervae » de Domitien argues it is the private sacrarium set up to Minerva in Domitian's bedchamber at the Palatine palace.  It is possible that the shrine depicted is an actual structure, but I would wager it most likely is a set piece and not to be taken literally.

Edited by David Atherton
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...