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An Unassumingly Rare Domitian Diobol

David Atherton

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Domitian's coinage from Alexandria can be divided between two halves: pre reform and post reform. The Alexandrian mint underwent a massive change in both style and reverse designs in either regnal year 10 or 11. This diobol was struck pre reform and showcases the early style, along with a tried and true reverse type.



Æ Diobol, 6.54g
Alexandria mint, 83-84 AD
Obv: ΑΥΤΟΚ ΚΑΙΣΑΡ ΔΟΜΙΤΙΑΝΟΣ ΣΕΒ; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: ΕΤΟΥΣ ΤΡΙΤΟΥ; Eagle standing, r., on thunderbolt
RPC 2495 (3 spec.). Emmett 281.3. Dattari-Savio 584.
Acquired from eBay, May 2023.

A regnal year 3 Alexandrian diobol struck before the mint was reformed seven or eight years later. The reverse types employed on Domitian's Alexandrian coinage was a mix of both Greek and native Egyptian types. Here the reverse depicts an eagle with thunderbolt, attributes of the supreme Greek god Zeus. Oddly, Emmett rates this variety from regnal year 3 as 'common', although only three specimens are found in RPC's 'core collections'.


In hand.



Feel free to share your eagles or diobols.

As always, thank you for looking!

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Nice coin!  Here is a recent pickup from that elusive "private British collection". Hard to find diobols in great condition.

Roman Egypt, Alexandria. Aelius, as Caesar, AD 136-138. Æ Diobol (24mm, 9.03g, 11h). Struck AD 137. Obv: Λ ΑΙΛΙΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ; Bareheaded and draped bust right, seen from front. Rev: ΔHM ЄΞOV C VΠAT B; Homonoia standing left, holding patera and grain ears. Ref: Köln 1272; Dattari (Savio) 2079; K&G 34.6; Emmett 1353; RPC 6242. About Very Fine, light brown patina. From a private British collection. Ex Naville Numismatics 79 (12 Feb 2023), Lot 255.



RPC note: The presence of corn ears rather than cornucopia suggests, perhaps, that someone other than Homonoia is intended: presumably Euthenia?

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10 minutes ago, David Atherton said:

Isn't that the truth! Yours is quite lovely with much eye-appeal.

Thanks, David. It is a replacement for one that I allowed to slip away many years ago when I thought I needed to keep fewer coins. What a crazy idea!

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Hi @David Atherton & @Edessa,

Here are my two.



DOMITIAN (81 - 96 Sep 18 CE)
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT Year 03 (083/084 CE)
Æ Diobol
Size: 25 mm
Weight: 7.92 g
Axis: 0
Broucheion Collection R-1995-09-22.001

Refs: Emmett-281.03; Geissen-331 to 332; Dattari-584; RPC II-2492 Online; Milne-474 to 475; SNG Copenhagen 199; BMC-320; Freiburg: 12761.
Provenance: Ex-Frank Robinson (Sale 33, 1995); Ex-Palladium Numismatics (CA, USA); Ex-Malter II (23-24 Feb 1978), Lot #321 (realized $120).
Note: Smoothed/tooled.



ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT 2nd Counsulship (137 CE)
AE Diobol

Size: 25 mm
Weight: 8.95 g
Axis: 0
Broucheion Collection R-xxxx-xx-xx.026

Obv: Aelius Caesar bare headed draped bust facing right. Legend: ΛAIΛIOC - KAICA[P]. Dotted border.
Rev: Homonia standing looking to left. Outstretched right hand holds patera (libation dish). Left arm cradles two stalks of grain. Legend: ΔHM•Є - ΞOY - YΠAT•[B] (= TR POT COS II). Dotted border.
Refs: Emmett-1353.ud; Geissen-1272 var: Rev legend arrangement; Dattari-2078; Milne-1556
Provenance: Ex-Antioch Associates, who apparently got it from Frank D Arnold (CA, USA) in April 1993 (their ticket included).
Notes: Aelius is also the only one whose Alexandrian coinage uses the Roman system of dating on the reverses, but in Greek of course: ΔHM•Є - ΞOY - YΠAT• (= TR POT COS II).

- Broucheion

Edited by Broucheion
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(Nice music, David!) An attractive compact denomination, is the Alexandrian diobol. Here's my Domitian followed by Vespasian, that is in fact my most recent acquisition: 


3157. AE diobol Domitian AD 81-96. Dated LE 5=AD 85/6. Obv. Laureated bust r. Rev. Large bull t.r. with date LE. 21 mm, 6.63 gr. Emmett 279.2. 


3171. Alexandria, AE diobol Vespasian. Year ENATOY = 9 (=76/77). Obv. Laureate head right of Vespasian r. AYTOK KAIΣAΡOΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOY. Rev. Draped bust of Alexandria right, wearing elephant skin. ΣEBAΣTOY L ENAT all in a circle. 23  mm, 7.64 gr. Emmett 215.9. 

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EGYPT, Alexandria, Vespasian, AD 69-79, Æ Diobol, dated RY 5 (AD 72/73)

Obv: ΑΥΤΟΚ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΟΥΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΥ, laureate head right

Rev: Draped bust of Isis right, wearing taenia and crowned with disk and horns; L E (date) to right

Ref: Köln 296; Dattari (Savio) 384; K&G 20.39; RPC II 2438; Emmett 217.5; Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 29


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