AR Denarius. 3.25g, 18.9mm
MINTED: Rome mint, AD 92-93
REF: RIC II 740
OBVERSE: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XII, laureate head right.
REVERSE: IMP XXII COS XVI CENS P P P, Minerva standing right on top of rostral column, holding spear and shield; owl at feet on right.
Lightly toned. A few very faint, almost invisible scratches.
Domitian grew up in the shadow of his brother, Titus, and during the reign of his father, Vespasian, was given few of the responsibilities and honours accorded his elder brother. Perhaps as a result, he grew disaffected and bitter, and was said to have constantly plotted against Titus. Though he was must have been pleased when Titus died prematurely after a brief reign of two years, Domitian initially showed no inclination to rule with energy or virtue. Suetonius writes that early in his reign, he would spend many hours of each day locked up in his room alone just catching flies and stabbing them with a sharp stylus. He would later become a more productive emperor, though ancient historians were generally ambivalent about how well he ruled. Always arrogant and ill-tempered, when Domitian grew paranoid about threats to his person, he would respond with a savage cruelty that turned him into a hated and feared tyrant. He was eventually assassinated after a reign of 15 years, in a plot hatched by his own court officials and others close to him, including his chamberlain and private secretary. Upon his death, the Roman senators rejoiced and gleefully declared a damnatio memoriae on his memory.
DOMITIAN . AD 81-96 . AR Denarius . Minerva, goddess of battle and wisdom
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