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semis of Domitian


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It is not always evident whether a small Roman imperial AE coin is a semis or a quadrans. Here is one I think is a semis:


Domitian as Caesar, struck under Vespasian, 74
16 mm. 2.78 grams.
Laureate head of Domitian
Winged cadeuceus
RIC II Vespasian 1581 "R2" "Minted in Rome for Syria(?)" 74
Sear I 2667 "Samosota in Commegene, AD 73"
RIC says it is of orichalcum and a semis. 


I have a web page devoted to the quadrans and semis denominations:

Show us some quadrantes and semisses!

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Interesting one, @Valentinian. Here are a couple of semisses from Hadrian. Hadrian (117-138 AD) issued the denomination only infrequently and the semis ceased to be after his reign. As such, these two coins are some of the last semisses minted.

Hadrian P M TR P COS III eagle-thunderbolt semis.jpg
Hadrian, AD 117-138.
Roman orichalcum semis, 4.06 g, 18.1 mm, 7 h.
Rome, AD 121-23.
Obv: IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, eagle standing half right, head turned left, wings open but not spread.
Rev: P M TR P COS III S C, thunderbolt.
Refs: RIC 625; RIC 2.3, 624; BMC 1279; Cohen 1167; Strack 579; RCV 3704.

Hadrian COS III lyre semis.jpg
Hadrian, AD 117-138.
Roman orichalcum semis, 4.12 g, 18.3 mm, 6 h.
Rome, AD 124-25, possibly for use in Syria.
Obv: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS: Bust of Hadrian, laureate, draped and cuirassed, right.
Rev: COS III S C, lyre.
Refs: RIC 688; RIC 2.3, 758; BMC 1359-61; Cohen 443; Strack 625; RCV 3701; McAlee 547a.

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This is a great resource, @Valentinian!  I like to have an overview of the history of each denomination in my collection, but I have been struggling to identify whether a particular coin is a semis.  I see from your discussion that I'm not alone!

If I had the time and opportunity to spend with a large collection of these, I'd be interested to measure die diameters.  I wonder if that might distinguish the two fractions, at least within a particular reign.  For example, note the starkly contrasting die diameters between these two Neros that you show:


This makes me wonder whether the second is in fact a semis, despite the low weight and smallish size.  The die diameter appears to be quite large.  (If you get the time and feel like it, would be great for the die diameters to be listed on your page, since you have so many!  At the very least I suspect it may be a helpful indicator, even if not definitive.)

I agree that the following is a semis:


I would add that the further point that it reprises the Nero type marked with an S.

What about this Decius coin from the 3rd century?  Mine is 3.97g and 20mm at its widest.  I'm inclined to agree with the consensus here and classify it as the very last semis:



Here are a couple other quadrantes in my collection.  First, I like your hypothesis that this was issued by Nerva, which I'll add to my notes on the coin:


And finally my two favourites, a Claudius and a Trajan RIC 702.  As on your example, the latter clearly shows a boar:





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Trajan Ae semis 101 AD Obv Head right laureate Rv Statue of Hercules facing head right  holding club all on pedestal . RIC 690 Woytek 595bC? 2.93 grms 19 mm Photo by W. Hansentrajansemis3.jpg.e9398a60502920403dfde760aa76f87c.jpg

 This coin shares some similarities with an issue of Aureii and Denarii which feature what appears to be the same statue. One might be forgiven if one came to the conclusion that all of these coins are somehow related to some specific event such as the rededication of a temple or the introduction of a new cult statue. While the semis could easily been fitted into any date, there are some difficulties with reconciling the dating of the other two coins

Edited by kapphnwn
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My latest semis is a Hadrian. I liked the portrait and also the reverse.


Hadrian AD 117-138. Rome
Semis Æ
20 mm, 4,03 g
AD 124-125
HADRIANVS AVGVSTUS, bust of Hadrian, laureate, draped and cuirassed, right, viewed from rear or side / COS III SC, Roma seated left on cuirass, resting foot on helmet, holding Victory and spear; behind, shield
RIC II, Part 3 (second edition) Hadrian 760; RIC II Hadrian 685 (semis)

I also have the 2 semisses @Roman Collector presented.





This RIC II 693 Trajan with she wolf is an unclear denomination, some sources (most of them) call it quadrans but I have also seen it described as semis.


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