Numismatica Ars Classica > Auction 132Auction date: 30 May 2022
Lot number: 526

Price realized: 22,000 CHF   (Approx. 22,993 USD / 21,467 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Domitian caesar, 69 - 81
Aureus 74-75, AV 7.39 g. CAES AVG F – DOMIT COS III Laureate head r. Rev. PRINCEPS – IVVENTVT Spes advancing l., holding flower and raising robe. C 374. BMC Vespasian 155. RIC Vespasian 233. CBN Vespasian 131. Calicó 912.
Virtually as struck and almost Fdc

Ex Leu 10, 1974, 118 and NAC 33, 2006, 462 sales.
As the youngest son of Vespasian, Domitian hardly benefited from his father's fame during his formative years, whereas his older brother, Titus, experienced quite the opposite. In both cases their childhoods and adolescences seem to have galvanised their personalities and their perspectives on the world. Titus grew up when his father was greatly favoured in the court of Claudius; indeed, Titus was a boyhood friend of Claudius' son Britannicus and very nearly died from the poison that killed him. When Vespasian fell out of favour for most of Nero's reign (as he was closely associated with the fallen Narcissus), Domitian was then in his formative years, and his life experience was one of relative poverty and isolation. Then, when Nero recalled Vespasian from obscurity to serve as proconsul in Africa, and later still to lead the war in Judaea, Titus was 27 years old and was able to join his father; Domitian was only 15 years old and remained in Rome. While Vespasian and Titus gained glory in Judaea and Alexandria, Domitian lived dangerously in war-torn Rome. Once again, as Titus benefited, Domitian suffered – this time as a potential target of Galba and Otho, and as a dangerously obvious target of Vitellius. Indeed, in the final days of Vitellius' regime, Domitian narrowly missed death by disguising himself as a devotee of Isis and escaping the burning Temple of Capitoline Jupiter in which his uncle, the prefect of Rome Flavius Sabinus, perished. Even when his father and brother returned to Rome, Domitian was not taken seriously. He received many superficial honours (see Suetonius, Domitian 1-2), but was entrusted with no real responsibility and played a distant second fiddle to his brother. Thus, it is no surprise that Domitian was rumoured to have murdered Titus, in whose shadow he had always lived enviously, nor is it any wonder that when Domitian finally assumed supreme power, he ruled in a more extravagant fashion than his father and brother.

Graded Ch AU Strike 5/5 Surface 5/5, NGC certification number 6159308-003.

Estimate: 20000 CHF