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Fine Style Domitian As

David Atherton

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I purchased this Domitian as because of the superb style ... and also because I was missing this particular altar variety. The price was right too.




Æ As, 12.26g
Rome mint, 85 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: SALVTI above, AVGVSTI below; S C in field; Altar
RIC 418 (R2). BMC 366A. BNC -.
Acquired from Jetons Canada, eBay, May 2023.

The SALVTI AVGVSTI altar type was first introduced on Domitian's aes coinage in 84 after a brief hiatus of the Senatorial mint's production in 82-83, presumably for re-organisational purposes. The structure on the reverse has been traditionally described as an altar, however, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. He states the steps at the base leading to two doors with handles are overwhelming evidence that the structure was much larger than an altar. As far as the shrine's significance - H. Mattingly in BMCRE II interprets the type as commemorating the Senate's dedication of an altar shrine celebrating Domitian's safe return from the Germanic Wars of 82-83. Alternately, the shrine may have been dedicated as an appeal to Salus for the emperor's continued good health. In any case, no trace of the shrine has survived antiquity. This as struck during the last bronze issue of 85 is a rare variety of the type with a RIC frequency rating of 'R2'. Missing from the Paris collection.


In hand.



Thank you for looking!

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Cool coin! So this wasn't related to any particular illness that we know of, but a general well wish? I didn't know Salus was used to possibly commemorate safe returns either! I always associated with illness.

Patina is very attractive in hand compared to the photo!

Edited by Steppenfool
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Very nice coin and write-up as always @David Atherton.   I have a similar, more common, crustier one:


Domitian Æ As (85 A.D.) Rome Mint IMP CA[ES] DOMITIAN AVG GERM COS XI, laureate bust right, wearing aegis / SALVTI [A]VGVST[I], S-C, horned altar or shrine of Ara Salutis Augusti. RIC II Part 1 (2nd ed.) 305; BMCRE 316-317; Cohen 417. (10.94 grams / 28 x 27 mm) eBay Aug. 2019

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