Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 111   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 165

Estimate: 30'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 24'000 CHF Price realized: 25'000 CHF
Domitian augustus, 81 – 96. Aureus 85, AV 7.71 g. IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P IIII Laureate head r. with aegis. Rev. IMP VIIII COS XI CENSORIA POTESTAT P P Germania seated r. on shield, mourning; below, broken spear. C 182. BMC 81. RIC 325. CBN –. Calicó 865.
A superb portrait and a finely engraved reverse composition. An absolutely insignificant
mark on obverse and an almost invisible edge nick at five o’clock
on reverse, otherwise good extremely fine
Ex NAC-Spink Taisei 52, 1994, 2093; NAC 24, 2002, European Nobleman, 63; NAC 40, 2007, 688 and Roma Numismatics 8, 2014, 976 sales. From the Collection of a Retired Banker.
Domitian harboured an inferiority complex toward his brother and father. In the matter of military glory, the jealousy was acute: his brother had led the siege of Jerusalem, and his father had led most of the war in Judaea, and had won much glory in his earlier years, including a triumphia ornamentalia for his command in Claudius’ invasion of Britain. Domitian had always been eager for a military command, and Suetonius (Domitian 1) tells us that when his father established his government in Rome, Domitian wanted glory so badly that he "…planned a quite unnecessary expedition into Gaul and Germany, from which his father’s friends managed to dissuade him". In actuality, his skills in the art of war were enviable: he is said to have been able to shoot an arrow between the spread fingers of a hand without fail. His first campaign – which this well-composed issue celebrates – was against the Chatti in 83. Domitian led a perfectly successful campaign in which the Chatti were roundly defeated and the Roman border was extended beyond the Rhine. In honour of this victory Domitian was hailed Germanicus, won a triumph, and even had an arch erected. The series of coins he struck for several years are especially beautiful and imaginative compared with the rather pedestrian issues of his later years.

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