Coinage of Domitian

24 Oct 2020  Sat

Domitian was the Roman emperor from 81 to 96. Known chiefly for the reign of terror under which prominent members of the Senate lived during his last years. 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.

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, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius 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.

Upon his accession, Domitian revalued the Roman currency by increasing the silver content of the denarius by 12%. This coin commemorates the deification of Domitian's son. The obverse of a coin shows Laureate head while the reverse depicts Domitian's infant son shown as a young Jupiter seated on a globe with his hands raised toward seven stars that represent the constellation of the Great Bear.

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