A Poignant Coin for Titus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    My latest arrival has a poignant reverse for an emperor gone before his time. Salus was a popular coin type for the Flavians. Was it struck for Titus as a generic type or in a desperate attempt for divine intervention?

    Æ Dupondius, 11.48g
    Rome mint, 80-81 AD
    Obv: IMP T CAES VESP AVG P M TR P COS VIII; Head of Titus, radiate, bearded, l.
    Rev: SALVS AVG; S C in exergue; Salus std. l., with patera
    RIC 204 (C). BMC 197. BNC 198.
    Acquired from Incitatus Coins, November 2019. Ex Wendt, Auction XIII, 9 November 1976, lot 973.

    Titus' bronze issue dated COS VIII is quite large due to the fact he did not renew the consulship in 81 and the coins most likely spanned both years. With that in mind, the meaning behind this Salus type is quite intriguing. Titus died on 13 September 81 and there is some circumstantial evidence hinting that the illness was prolonged, perhaps evident as early as June of that year. Dio and Suetonius report that he wept openly in front of the crowds at the games, perhaps due to deteriorating health. Did the mint master have time enough before Titus' death to strike a coin reverse featuring the goddess of health and well-being in the hopes of divine aid? Conversely, H. Mattingly speculates the Salus reverse commemorates an altar to the goddess dedicated by Titus. Perhaps that may be so. It's not a rare coin, indicating it was struck for a longer rather than shorter period of time. Either way it's a most intriguing type!

    Please post your Salus coins.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
    bcuda, Deacon Ray, Marsman and 19 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Lovely coin, @David Atherton ! Here's a Flavian SALVS one from my collection: that does:

    Vespasian, AD 69-79.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.18 g, 18.4 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 73.
    Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII CEN, laureate head, right.
    Rev: SALVS AVG, Salus seated left, holding patera, left hand at side.
    Refs: RIC 58; RIC 2.1 522; BMCRE 87-89; Cohen/RSC 432; CBN 76; RCV 2307.
  5. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Great Salus, @David Atherton ! Would had been curious the impact Titus would had made should he survived. Great reverse.

    RR Man Acilius Glabrio 49 BCE Salus Valetudo snake Craw 442-1a Sear 412.JPG
    RR Man Acilius Glabrio 49 BCE Salus Valetudo snake Craw 442-1a Sear 412

    There is just something WRONG with the "Empire" at this time... cartoon coins.

    RI Leo I 457-474 CE AE 4 10mm Salus Emp stdg hldg Globe and Standard.jpg
    RI Leo I 457-474 CE AE 4 10mm Salus Emp stdg hldg Globe and Standard
    bcuda, Deacon Ray, chrsmat71 and 7 others like this.
  6. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Nice portrait David! Here is a SALVS of Domitian. Not a coin one sees everyday.
    Domitian RIC 145.jpg
    bcuda, Deacon Ray, Marsman and 8 others like this.
  7. CoinBlazer

    CoinBlazer Numismatic Enthusiast

    I see there is a distinct rim looking feature on the upper right of the reverse, was that an intentional however incomplete attempt at making a rim for the coin or a strike malfunction?
  8. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I don't know, but looking at the image of Titus, his facial features, he does not look well. I wonder if there was something intentional about that.
    bcuda and David Atherton like this.
  9. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Love the hearty portrait on it.
    bcuda likes this.
  10. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    That rim-like appearance of the beaded border is likely caused by a worn die combined with 2000 years of wear and tear.
    bcuda likes this.
  11. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    It's a pretty typical portrait. Mind you, all three Flavian's aren't exactly poster boys for healthy living!
    bcuda likes this.
  12. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    A fascinating coin. I have often thought about his death, mainly because his death is surrounded by mysteries. His statement: I have made only one mistake, I find very interesting. I think you are right that his illness lasted for many months, I don't think namely it was a coincidence that he died in the Alban villa. his sick father Vespasian had also experienced the last moments of his life there, so he felt his end approaching.
    Are there any theories about what kind of illness he suffered?
    bcuda and David Atherton like this.
  13. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Here is a Salus aureus of a rather corpulent Nero. Also a Salus rev. sestertius of Marcus Aurelius , followed bt a dupondius af his predicessor Antoninus Pius.
    Also presented are : Ant. of Tacitus; denarii of Nerva and Maximinus, and lastly , Ant, of Treb. Gallus.

    2Dd8Z9NxTdm5J4Cg7AssQQ3yw6Gg82.jpg 4780865l.jpg RS0405-021.jpg 2SjLGy9pfEr76gdAFwQ5WG4ew8zJZk.jpg 5WwTHtp47CBzq2NY3R9gCfS38GrJK8.jpg 21q.jpg 155559.jpg
  14. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    Nice coins !

    This is my Salus coin, including snake, from a member of the Flavian family :)


    Domitian, denarius.
    Rome Mint, 79 AD.
    RIC 1084, RSC 384.
    19mm, 3.13g.
    Obv. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right.
    Rev. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, leaning on column and feeding serpent with patera in hand.
    bcuda, David Atherton, Orfew and 5 others like this.
  15. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Theories abound, but nothing that's a slam dunk. Everything from malaria to a brain tumour had been proposed. There is circumstantial evidence from various ancient accounts that it wasn't out of the blue.
    bcuda likes this.
  16. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    Some ancient authors suggested that his brother had something to do with his dead...
    Could there been any truth in those stories ?
  17. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    No, not likely. Post Domitianic smears.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page