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A Flapjack-Like Fides

David Atherton

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I was attracted to this Domitian as because of its fine style and huge flan - nearly 30mm!




Æ As, 9.98g
Rome mint, 86 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XII CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: FIDEI PVBLICAE; S C in field; Fides stg. r., with corn ears and plate of fruits
RIC 486 (C2). BMC 385. BNC 415.
Acquired from Ken Dorney, January 2023.

Fides holding a plate of fruits was a recurring type under Domitian until 88. It copies a similar reverse struck for Vespasian and must have held some special meaning to Domitian. H Mattingly in BMCRE II (p. xci) speculated on the importance of Fides to Domitian: 'The word "Fides" has a wide scope and includes the ideas that we express by the words "loyalty", "integrity", "honour". Probably "credit", in a wide sense, is the nearest English equivalent. If, as seems probable, the type is closely associated with the Emperor's activities as censor, we can at once understand its popularity under Domitian. The censorship of Domitian is usually represented as a device to secure control of the composition of the senate. But this was only part of its significance. Domitian was simply carrying on from his father Vespasian the policy of close attention to the business affairs of the state and, in making himself censor for life, he was offending susceptibilities rather than serious interests. In view of the care of Domitian for the Italian land we can perhaps explain the "agricultural" attributes of "Fides". It appears certain that the Flavians developed a financial policy of great importance, of which only the barest hints have come down to us. The fact that a festival of Fides fell on the first day of October, the month which was rechristened "Domitianus" in A.D. 84, lends further appropriateness to the type.'


And in hand.



As always, thank you for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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Very nice, David.  I appreciate the Flavian background you provide with your posts.  

I happen to have an example of this one - a "budget" example (to be kind) coming in at a measly 26mm. 

When I was researching this originally, I noticed that mine had a dot in the obverse legend after GERM - I see that yours does too.  Not sure if that is a common thing with these, but not all of them have the dot.  


Domitian Æ As  (86 A.D.) Rome Mint IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XII C[ENS PER P P], laureate bust right with aegis / FIDEI [PVBLICAE] S-C, Fides standing right holding ears of grain and basket of fruit. RIC 486; RCV 2804. (10.81 grams / 26 mm) eBay June 2019  

Edited by Marsyas Mike
Added the dot stuff.
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