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18 September 96 (aged 44) Rome. Titus Flavius Domitianus (birth) Caesar Domitianus (69-81). Domitianus ; 24 October 51 - 18 September 96 was Roman emperor. He was the son of Vespasian. And the younger brother of Titus.

His two predecessors on the throne, and the last member of the Flavian dynasty. During his reign, the authoritarian nature of his rule put him at sharp odds with the Senate.

Whose powers he drastically curtailed. Domitian had a minor and largely ceremonial role during the reigns of his father and brother.

After the death of his brother, Domitian was declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard. His 15-year reign was the longest since that of Tiberius. As emperor, Domitian strengthened the economy by revaluing the Roman coinage. Expanded the border defenses of the empire, and initiated a massive building program to restore the damaged city of Rome. Significant wars were fought in Britain, where his general Agricola.

Where Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against King Decebalus. Domitian's government exhibited strong authoritarian characteristics. Religious, military, and cultural propaganda.

Fostered a cult of personality. And by nominating himself perpetual censor. He sought to control public and private morals.

As a consequence, Domitian was popular with the people and army, but considered a tyrant by members of the Roman Senate. Domitian's reign came to an end in 96 when he was assassinated by court officials.

He was succeeded the same day by his advisor Nerva. After his death, Domitian's memory was condemned to oblivion. By the Senate, while senatorial authors such as Tacitus. Propagated the view of Domitian as a cruel and paranoid tyrant. Modern revisionists instead have characterized Domitian as a ruthless but efficient autocrat whose cultural, economic, and political programs provided the foundation of the peaceful second century.

Tree, indicating the descendants of Titus Flavius Petro. Domitian was born in Rome on 24 October 51, the youngest son of Titus Flavius Vespasianus.

Commonly known as Vespasian-and Flavia Domitilla Major. He had an older sister, Domitilla the Younger. And brother, also named Titus Flavius Vespasianus. Decades of civil war during the 1st century BC had contributed greatly to the demise of the old aristocracy of Rome, which a new Italian nobility gradually replaced in prominence during the early part of the 1st century. One such family, the Flavians, or gens Flavia. Rose from relative obscurity to prominence in just four generations, acquiring wealth and status under the emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Domitian's great-grandfather, Titus Flavius Petro. Had served as a centurion. During Caesar's civil war. His military career ended in disgrace when he fled the battlefield at the Battle of Pharsalus. Nevertheless, Petro managed to improve his status by marrying the extremely wealthy Tertulla, whose fortune guaranteed the upward mobility of Petro's son Titus Flavius Sabinus I.

Sabinus himself amassed further wealth and possible equestrian. In Asia and banker in Helvetia. He allied the Flavian family to the more prestigious gens Vespasia, ensuring the elevation of his sons Titus Flavius Sabinus II. Of Vespasian included the offices of quaestor. And culminated in a consulship.

In 51, the year of Domitian's birth. As a military commander, Vespasian gained early renown by participating in the Roman invasion of Britain. Nevertheless, ancient sources allege poverty for the Flavian family at the time of Domitian's upbringing, even claiming Vespasian had fallen into disrepute under the emperors Caligula. Modern history has refuted these claims, suggesting these stories later circulated under Flavian rule as part of a propaganda.

Campaign to diminish success under the less reputable Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and to maximize achievements under Emperor Claudius. (41-54) and his son Britannicus. By all appearances, the Flavians enjoyed high imperial favour throughout the 40s and 60s. While Titus received a court education in the company of Britannicus, Vespasian pursued a successful political and military career. In 63, and accompanying the emperor Nero during an official tour of Greece in 66.

That same year Jews from the Province of Judaea. Revolted against the Roman Empire, sparking what is now known as the First Jewish-Roman War. Vespasian was assigned to lead the Roman army.

Against the insurgents, with Titus-who had completed his military education by this time-in charge of a legion. Of the three Flavian emperors, Domitian would rule the longest, despite the fact that his youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his older brother. Titus had gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War. Became emperor in 69 following the civil war. Known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

Titus held a great many offices, while Domitian received honours, but no responsibilities. By the time he was 16 years old, Domitian's mother and sister had long since died, while his father and brother were continuously active in the Roman military, commanding armies in Germania. For Domitian, this meant that a significant part of his adolescence was spent in the absence of his near relatives. During the Jewish-Roman wars, he was likely taken under the care of his uncle Titus Flavius Sabinus II, at the time serving as city prefect.

Of Rome; or possibly even Marcus Cocceius Nerva. A loyal friend of the Flavians and the future successor to Domitian. He received the education of a young man of the privileged senatorial class, studying rhetoric. In his biography in the Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Attests to Domitian's ability to quote the important poets and writers such as Homer.

On appropriate occasions, and describes him as a learned and educated adolescent, with elegant conversation. Among his first published works were poetry.

As well as writings on law and administration. Unlike his brother Titus, Domitian was not educated at court. Whether he received formal military training is not recorded, but according to Suetonius, he displayed considerable marksmanship with the bow and arrow.

A detailed description of Domitian's appearance and character is provided by Suetonius, who devotes a substantial part of his biography to his personality. He was tall of stature, with a modest expression and a high colour. His eyes were large, but his sight was somewhat dim.

He was handsome and graceful too, especially when a young man, and indeed in his whole body with the exception of his feet, the toes of which were somewhat cramped. In later life he had the further disfigurement of baldness, a protruding belly, and spindling legs, though the latter had become thin from a long illness. Domitian was allegedly extremely sensitive regarding his baldness, which he disguised in later life by wearing wigs. According to Suetonius, he even wrote a book on the subject of hair care. With regard to Domitian's personality, however, the account of Suetonius alternates sharply between portraying Domitian as the emperor-tyrant, a man both physically and intellectually lazy, and the intelligent, refined personality drawn elsewhere.

Historian Brian Jones concludes in The Emperor Domitian that assessing the true nature of Domitian's personality is inherently complicated by the bias of the surviving sources. Common threads nonetheless emerge from the available evidence. He appears to have lacked the natural charisma of his brother and father. He was prone to suspicion, displayed an odd, sometimes self-deprecating. Sense of humour, and often communicated in cryptic ways.

This ambiguity of character was further exacerbated by his remoteness, and as he grew older, he increasingly displayed a preference for solitude, which may have stemmed from his isolated upbringing. Indeed, by the age of eighteen nearly all of his closest relatives had died by war or disease. Having spent the greater part of his early life in the twilight of Nero's reign, his formative years would have been strongly influenced by the political turmoil of the 60s, culminating with the civil war. Of 69, which brought his family to power. Rise of the Flavian dynasty. Year of the Four Emperors. The Roman Empire during the Year of the Four Emperors. Blue areas indicate provinces loyal to Vespasian and Gaius Licinius Mucianus. Green areas indicate provinces loyal to Vitellius. On 9 June 68, amid growing opposition of the Senate and the army, Nero committed suicide.

And with him the Julio-Claudian dynasty came to an end. Chaos ensued, leading to a year of brutal civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. During which the four most influential generals in the Roman Empire. And Vespasian-successively vied for imperial power. News of Nero's death reached Vespasian as he was preparing to besiege the city of Jerusalem.

Almost simultaneously the Senate had declared Galba, then governor of Hispania Tarraconensis. (modern northern Spain), as Emperor of Rome. Rather than continue his campaign, Vespasian decided to await further orders and send Titus to greet the new Emperor.

Before reaching Italy, Titus learnt that Galba had been murdered and replaced by Otho, the governor of Lusitania. At the same time Vitellius and his armies in Germania had risen in revolt and prepared to march on Rome, intent on overthrowing Otho.

Not wanting to risk being taken hostage by one side or the other, Titus abandoned the journey to Rome and rejoined his father in Judaea. Otho and Vitellius realized the potential threat posed by the Flavian faction. With four legions at his disposal, Vespasian commanded a strength of nearly 80,000 soldiers. His position in Judaea further granted him the advantage of being nearest to the vital province of Egypt. Which controlled the grain supply to Rome.

His brother Titus Flavius Sabinus II, as city prefect, commanded the entire city garrison. Tensions among the Flavian troops ran high but so long as either Galba or Otho remained in power, Vespasian refused to take action. When Otho was defeated by Vitellius at the First Battle of Bedriacum. The armies in Judaea and Egypt took matters into their own hands and declared Vespasian emperor on 1 July 69. Vespasian accepted and entered an alliance with Gaius Licinius Mucianus. The governor of Syria, against Vitellius. A strong force drawn from the Judaean and Syrian legions marched on Rome under the command of Mucianus, while Vespasian travelled to Alexandria. Leaving Titus in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. A bust of Emperor Vitellius.

In Rome, Domitian was placed under house arrest. By Vitellius, as a safeguard against Flavian aggression. Support for the old emperor waned as more legions around the empire pledged their allegiance to Vespasian. On 24 October 69, the forces of Vitellius and Vespasian (under Marcus Antonius Primus) met at the Second Battle of Bedriacum. Which ended in a crushing defeat for the armies of Vitellius.

In despair, Vitellius attempted to negotiate a surrender. Terms of peace, including a voluntary abdication, were agreed upon with Titus Flavius Sabinus II but the soldiers of the Praetorian Guard. Considered such a resignation disgraceful and prevented Vitellius from carrying out the treaty. On the morning of 18 December, the emperor appeared to deposit the imperial insignia at the Temple of Concord.

But at the last minute retraced his steps to the Imperial palace. In the confusion, the leading men of the state gathered at Sabinus' house, proclaiming Vespasian as Emperor, but the multitude dispersed when Vitellian cohorts clashed with the armed escort of Sabinus, who was forced to retreat to the Capitoline Hill. During the night, he was joined by his relatives, including Domitian.

The armies of Mucianus were nearing Rome but the besieged Flavian party did not hold out for longer than a day. On 19 December, Vitellianists burst onto the Capitol and in a skirmish, Sabinus was captured and executed. Domitian managed to escape by disguising himself as a worshipper of Isis. And spent the night in safety with one of his father's supporters, Cornelius Primus. By the afternoon of 20 December, Vitellius was dead, his armies having been defeated by the Flavian legions.

With nothing more to be feared, Domitian came forward to meet the invading forces; he was universally saluted by the title of Caesar. And the mass of troops conducted him to his father's house. The following day, 21 December, the Senate proclaimed Vespasian emperor of the Roman Empire. The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis. Domitian eagerly sought the opportunity to attain military glory, but was denied command of a legion by superior officers.

Although the war had officially ended, a state of anarchy. And lawlessness pervaded in the first days following the demise of Vitellius. Order was properly restored by Mucianus in early 70 but Vespasian did not enter Rome until September of that year. In the meantime, Domitian acted as the representative of the Flavian family in the Roman Senate. He received the title of Caesar and was appointed praetor.

Describes Domitian's first speech in the Senate as brief and measured, at the same time noting his ability to elude awkward questions. Domitian's authority was merely nominal. Foreshadowing what was to be his role for at least ten more years. By all accounts, Mucianus held the real power in Vespasian's absence and he was careful to ensure that Domitian, still only eighteen years old, did not overstep the boundaries of his function. Strict control was also maintained over the young Caesar's entourage.

Promoting away Flavian generals such as Arrius Varus and Antonius Primus. And replacing them with more reliable men such as Arrecinus Clemens. Equally curtailed by Mucianus were Domitian's military ambitions.

The civil war of 69 had severely destabilized the provinces, leading to several local uprisings such as the Batavian revolt. Legions, led by Gaius Julius Civilis. Had rebelled with the aid of a faction of Treveri. Under the command of Julius Classicus. Seven legions were sent from Rome, led by Vespasian's brother-in-law Quintus Petillius Cerialis. Although the revolt was quickly suppressed, exaggerated reports of disaster prompted Mucianus to depart the capital with reinforcements of his own. Domitian eagerly sought the opportunity to attain military glory and joined the other officers with the intention of commanding a legion of his own. According to Tacitus, Mucianus was not keen on this prospect but since he considered Domitian a liability in any capacity that was entrusted to him, he preferred to keep him close at hand rather than in Rome. When news arrived of Cerialis' victory over Civilis, Mucianus tactfully dissuaded Domitian from pursuing further military endeavours. Domitian then wrote to Cerialis personally, suggesting he hand over command of his army but, once again, he was snubbed. With the return of Vespasian in late September, his political role was rendered all but obsolete and Domitian withdrew from government devoting his time to arts and literature.

A bust of Domitia Longina. Where his political and military career had ended in disappointment, Domitian's private affairs were more successful.

In 70 Vespasian attempted to arrange a dynastic marriage between his youngest son and the daughter of Titus, Julia Flavia. But Domitian was adamant in his love for Domitia Longina. Going so far as to persuade her husband, Lucius Aelius Lamia, to divorce her so that Domitian could marry her himself. Despite its initial recklessness, the alliance was very prestigious for both families. Domitia Longina was the younger daughter of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo.

A respected general and honoured politician who had distinguished himself for his leadership in Armenia. Following the failed Pisonian conspiracy. Against Nero in 65, he had been forced to commit suicide.

She was also a granddaughter of Junia Lepida. A descendant of Emperor Augustus. The new marriage not only re-established ties to senatorial opposition, but also served the broader Flavian propaganda of the time, which sought to diminish Vespasian's political success under Nero.

Instead, connections to Claudius and Britannicus were emphasised, and Nero's victims, or those otherwise disadvantaged by him, rehabilitated. In 80, Domitia and Domitian's only attested son was born. It is not known what the boy's name was, but he died in childhood in 83. Shortly following his accession as Emperor, Domitian bestowed the honorific title of Augusta.

Upon Domitia, while their son was deified. Appearing as such on the reverse. Of coin types from this period. Nevertheless, the marriage appears to have faced a significant crisis in 83. For reasons unknown, Domitian briefly exiled. Domitia, and then soon recalled her, either out of love or due to rumours that he was carrying on a relationship with his niece Julia Flavia.

Jones argues that most likely he did so for her failure to produce an heir. Little is known of Domitia's activities as Empress, or how much influence she wielded in Domitian's government, but it seems her role was limited. From Suetonius, we know that she at least accompanied the Emperor to the amphitheatre. While the Jewish writer Josephus. Speaks of benefits he received from her.

It is not known whether Domitian had other children, but he did not marry again. Despite allegations by Roman sources of adultery and divorce, the marriage appears to have been happy. The Triumph of Titus, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. (1885), depicting the Flavian family during the triumphal procession of 71. Proceeds at the head of the family, dressed as pontifex maximus. Followed by Domitian with Domitia Longina. Also dressed in religious regalia.

Alma-Tadema was known for his meticulous historical research on the ancient world. Before becoming Emperor, Domitian's role in the Flavian government was largely ceremonial. Ultimately, the rebellion had claimed the lives of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, a majority of whom were Jewish. The city and temple of Jerusalem.

Were completely destroyed, its most valuable treasures carried off by the Roman army, and nearly 100,000 people were captured and enslaved. For his victory, the Senate awarded Titus a Roman triumph.

On the day of the festivities, the Flavian family rode into the capital, preceded by a lavish parade that displayed the spoils of the war. The family procession was headed by Vespasian and Titus, while Domitian, riding a magnificent white horse. Followed with the remaining Flavian relatives.

Leaders of the Jewish resistance were executed in the Forum Romanum. After which the procession closed with religious sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter.

Was erected at the south-east entrance to the Forum to commemorate the successful end of the war. Yet the return of Titus further highlighted the comparative insignificance of Domitian, both militarily and politically. As the eldest and most experienced of Vespasian's sons, Titus shared tribunician power.

With his father, received seven consulships, the censorship. Of the Praetorian Guard; powers that left no doubt he was the designated heir to the Empire. As a second son, Domitian held honorary titles, such as Caesar or Princeps.

Iuventutis, and several priesthoods, including those of augur. Magister frater arvalium, and sacerdos collegiorum omnium. But no office with imperium. He held six consulships during Vespasian's reign but only one of these, in 73, was an ordinary consulship. The other five were less prestigious suffect consulships.

Which he held in 71, 75, 76, 77 and 79 respectively, usually replacing his father or brother in mid-January. While ceremonial, these offices no doubt gained Domitian valuable experience in the Roman Senate, and may have contributed to his later reservations about its relevance. Under Vespasian and Titus, non-Flavians were virtually excluded from the important public offices. Mucianus himself all but disappeared from historical records during this time, and it is believed he died sometime between 75 and 77. Real power was unmistakably concentrated in the hands of the Flavian faction; the weakened Senate only maintained the facade of democracy.

Because Titus effectively acted as co-emperor with his father, no abrupt change in Flavian policy occurred when Vespasian died on 24 June 79. Titus assured Domitian that full partnership in the government would soon be his, but neither tribunician power nor imperium of any kind was conferred upon him during Titus' brief reign.

Two major disasters struck during 79 and 80. In October/November 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted. Burying the surrounding cities of Pompeii.

Under metres of ash and lava; the following year, a fire broke out in Rome that lasted three days and destroyed a number of important public buildings. Consequently, Titus spent much of his reign coordinating relief efforts and restoring damaged property.

On 13 September 81, after barely two years in office, he unexpectedly died of fever during a trip to the Sabine. Ancient authors have implicated Domitian in the death of his brother, either by directly accusing him of murder, or implying he left the ailing Titus for dead, even alleging that during his lifetime, Domitian was openly plotting against his brother.

It is difficult to assess the factual veracity of these statements given the known bias. Brotherly affection was likely at a minimum, but this was hardly surprising, considering that Domitian had barely seen Titus after the age of seven.

Whatever the nature of their relationship, Domitian seems to have displayed little sympathy when his brother lay dying, instead making for the Praetorian camp. Where he was proclaimed emperor. The following day, 14 September, the Senate confirmed Domitian's powers, granting tribunician power, the office of Pontifex maximus.

And the titles of Augustus. Preceded by Year of the Four Emperors.

As Emperor, Domitian quickly dispensed with the republican facade his father and brother had maintained during their reign. By moving the centre of government (more or less formally) to the imperial court. Domitian openly rendered the Senate's powers obsolete.

In his view, the Roman Empire was to be governed as a divine monarchy. With himself as the benevolent despot. In addition to exercising absolute political power, Domitian believed the emperor's role encompassed every aspect of daily life, guiding the Roman people as a cultural and moral authority.

To usher in the new era, he embarked on ambitious economic, military, and cultural programs with the intention of restoring the Empire to the splendour it had seen under the Emperor Augustus. Despite these grand designs, Domitian was determined to govern the Empire conscientiously and scrupulously. He became personally involved in all branches of the administration: edicts. Were issued governing the smallest details of everyday life and law, while taxation and public morals were rigidly enforced.

According to Suetonius, the imperial bureaucracy. Never ran more efficiently than under Domitian, whose exacting standards and suspicious nature maintained historically low corruption among provincial governors.

Although he made no pretence regarding the significance of the Senate under his absolute rule, those senators he deemed unworthy were expelled from the Senate, and in the distribution of public offices he rarely favored family members, a policy that stood in contrast to the nepotism. Practiced by Vespasian and Titus. Above all, however, Domitian valued loyalty and malleability in those he assigned to strategic posts, qualities he found more often in men of the equestrian order than in members of the Senate or his own family, whom he regarded with suspicion, and promptly removed from office if they disagreed with imperial policy. The reality of Domitian's autocracy was further highlighted by the fact that, more than any emperor since Tiberius, he spent significant periods of time away from the capital. Although the Senate's power had been in decline since the fall of the Republic, under Domitian the seat of power was no longer even in Rome, but rather wherever the Emperor was.

Until the completion of the Flavian Palace. The imperial court was situated at Alba or Circeii, and sometimes even farther afield. Domitian toured the European provinces extensively, and spent at least three years of his reign in Germania and Illyricum. Conducting military campaigns on the frontiers of the Empire. Palaces, villas, and other major buildings.

Gate of Domitian and Trajan. At the northern entrance of the Temple of Hathor. And Domitian as Pharaoh on the same gate, in Dendera. For his personal use, he was active in constructing many monumental buildings, including the Villa of Domitian. A vast and sumptuous palace situated 20 km outside Rome in the Alban Hills.

In Rome itself, he built the Palace of Domitian. Six other villas are linked with Domitian at Tusculum.

Only the one at Circei has been identified today, where its remains can be visited by the Lago di Paola. Was dedicated in 86 AD as a gift to the people of Rome as part of an Imperial building program, following the damage or destruction of most of the buildings on the Field of Mars by fire in 79 AD. It was Rome's first permanent venue for competitive athletics, and today occupied by the Piazza Navona. In Egypt too, Domitian was quite active in constructing buildings and decorating them. He appears, together with Trajan.

In offering scenes on the propylon of the Temple of Hathor. Also appears in the column shafts of the Temple of Khnum. Upon his accession, Domitian revalued the Roman currency by increasing the silver content of the denarius. This coin commemorates the deification. A silver tetradrachm of Domitian from the Antioch Mint in Syria.

Obverse: Laureate bust of Emperor Domitian facing right, Classical Medusa at the nick of Domitians neck. Reverse: Eagle standing on a thunderbolt, palm before, wings open, head facing right, holding wreath in its beak. EKATOY (new sacred year eleventh) Size: 27mm, 14.8g Reference: Prieur p. Domitian's tendency towards micromanagement.

Was nowhere more evident than in his financial policy. The question of whether Domitian left the Roman Empire in debt or with a surplus at the time of his death has been fiercely debated. The evidence points to a balanced economy for the greater part of Domitian's reign. Upon his accession he revalued the Roman currency. He increased the silver purity of the denarius. From 90% to 98% - the actual silver weight increasing from 2.87 grams to 3.26 grams. A financial crisis in 85 forced a devaluation. Of the silver purity and weight to 93.5% and 3.04 grams respectively. Nevertheless, the new values were still higher than the levels that Vespasian and Titus had maintained during their reigns. Domitian's rigorous taxation policy ensured that this standard was sustained for the following eleven years. Coinage from this era displays a highly consistent degree of quality including meticulous attention to Domitian's titulature and refined artwork on the reverse portraits. Jones estimates Domitian's annual income at more than 1.2 billion sestertii. Of which over one-third would presumably have been spent maintaining the Roman army.

The other major expense was the extensive reconstruction of Rome. At the time of Domitian's accession the city was still suffering from the damage caused by the Great Fire of 64. The civil war of 69 and the fire in 80. Much more than a renovation project, Domitian's building program was intended to be the crowning achievement of an Empire-wide cultural renaissance.

Around fifty structures were erected, restored or completed, achievements second only to those of Augustus. Among the most important new structures were an odeon. And an expansive palace on the Palatine Hill known as the Flavian Palace, which was designed by Domitian's master architect Rabirius. The most important building Domitian restored was the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill, said to have been covered with a gilded. Among those completed were the Temple of Vespasian and Titus.

The Arch of Titus and the Flavian Amphitheatre (Colosseum). To which he added a fourth level and finished the interior seating area. In order to appease the people of Rome an estimated 135 million sestertii was spent on donatives, or congiaria. The Emperor also revived the practice of public banquets, which had been reduced to a simple distribution of food under Nero, while he invested large sums on entertainment and games. In 86 he founded the Capitoline Games. A quadrennial contest comprising athletic displays. Domitian himself supported the travel of competitors from all corners of the Empire to Rome and distributed the prizes. Innovations were also introduced into the regular gladiatorial. Games such as naval contests, nighttime battles, and female and dwarf gladiator fights. Lastly, he added two new factions to the chariot races, Gold and Purple, to race against the existing White, Red, Green and Blue factions.