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Vespasian Sarapis Diobol

David Atherton

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My latest addition is a fairly handsome diobol from a trusted eBay seller who has recently gotten back into the ancients game. Meow.




Æ Diobol, 10.28g
Alexandria mint, 73-74 AD
Obv: ΑΥΤΟΚ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΟΥΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΥ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: LϚ; Bust of Sarapis, r.
RPC 2441 (16 spec.). Emmett 218.6. Dattari-Savio 401.
Ex eBay, April 2023.

The cult of Sarapis gained importance during the Flavian dynasty because of Vespasian's vital connection to Egypt during the Civil War. Alexandria was the first city to declare for him in July 69 and in November he arrived there to await the outcome of the war and to secure the grain supply to Rome. According to both Tacitus and Suetonius during Vespasian's sojourn in Alexandria he paid a visit to the temple of Sarapis alone to consult the god about the chances of success in his bid for the empire. After receiving a positive sign from the god he was able to administer healing miracles to the local Alexandrians. Of course, all of this was later Flavian propaganda intended to bolster Vespasian's claim to the purple. It should come as no surprise that Sarapis figured prominently on the local coinage under Vespasian, being commonly struck on the bronze diobol. This fine style example of the type struck in regnal year 6 features neatly engraved obverse and reverse busts.


Nice in hand too.


Feel free to share your coins featuring Sarapis!

Thank you for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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3 hours ago, Orange Julius said:

That’s a beauty! I love the rich brown color. I have one of these that came in a lot of 30 low quality Alexandrians that is really ugly and makes me appreciate yours that much more!


Most Alexandrian bronzes from this era are in various states of poor condition ... so when you come across one that is in decent shape you sit up and take notice!

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Great pick up David.  Here's one of mine from the Cat Nip Coiner.  Common, but it's one of my favorite Domitians.




Laureate head of Domitian right

Fortuna standing left holding rudder and cornucopiae

Rome 87 AD
RIC 544 (C3)

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