Going Out in Style

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I've always wanted one of these Divus Vespasian elephant quadriga sestertii, but they are prohibitively expensive. Luckily, I recently came across one that's more within my price range, perhaps due to the slightly porous surfaces. Even so, the surviving details are quite good.

    T259.jpg Divus Vespasian
    Æ Sestertius, 25.01g
    Rome mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
    Obv: DIVO AVG VESPAS above; S P Q R in exergue; Deified Vespasian std. r. holding sceptre and Victory in car drawn by four elephants with riders
    Rev: IMP T CAES DIVI VESP F AVG P M TR P P P COS VIII; S C, large, in centre
    RIC 259 (R2). BMC -. BNC -.
    Acquired from Wallin Mynt, November 2019.

    The coinage struck by Titus commemorating Divus Vespasian is closely modelled on those struck for Divus Augustus by Tiberius. The obverse of this coin shows a cult image of the defied Vespasian in a quadriga drawn by four elephants, mounted by their riders (mahouts?). Presumably, this spectacular display was part of Vespasian's funerary pompa (would such a quadriga drawn by elephants be realistically feasible?). The carnavalesque atmosphere of a Roman imperial funeral procession is readily apparent by this coin's obverse design. The reverse legend date with Titus as COS VIII places the coin between 80-81, at least a full six months after Vespasian's death on 24 June 79 (assuming the coins were produced contemporaneously with Vespasian's deification). Epigraphic evidence shows Vespasian had been deified sometime before 29 May 80. Why they were struck so late remains a mystery. Perhaps the delay for deification was an attempt on Titus' part to avoid his father becoming a court joke as Claudius had become, or so B. Levick has asserted. She believes the famous 'Woe's me ...' quip attributed to Vespasian is likely a later cruel jest parodying Claudius' last utterance 'Woe's me, I think I've messed myself'. Regardless, the political expediency of having a deified father likely overruled any such qualms. All of the sestertii of the Divus Vespasian series are rare - this particular specimen showcases a rare variant obverse legend (VESPAS instead of the slightly commoner VESP) and the reverse legend starting from the lower left.

    Feel free to post your DIVI coins!
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
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  3. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    I love it. The 4 elephants make this a very interesting type.
  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    This is the most impressive composition I've seen on a Roman Divus commemorative coin :jawdrop:! The elephants give a sense of power to the scene & their slow lumbering gait is perfect for a funeral march. The huge SC on the reverse is a statement of importance to this issue.
  5. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coin! I agree that the elephants are particularly well engraved.

    This one is no longer in my collection (it has a better home now) but it was fun to own this one for a couple weeks, which I assume was the inspiration for this coin:
    Augustus funeral sestertius elephant quadriga.jpg
  6. Alegandron

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

    WOW, Elephants are always great. Super coin... I don't pay as much to the coin's condition as I do to the elements and the history being projected. Very nice! AND, an SPQR too.

    Wow, DIVI, DIVO, DIVA, DIVVS, gosh I am not a Latin speaker, but you have to search under several parameters!

    I see dead people... (yeah, THAT is in red...)



    RImp Octavian 32-31 BCE AR Den Rome mint Bare CAESAR DIVI F Mercury lyre RIC 257 Sear 1550.jpg
    RImp Octavian 32-31 BCE AR Den Rome mint Bare CAESAR DIVI F Mercury lyre RIC 257 Sear 1550


    RI Constantius I Chlorus 293-306 CE DIVO AE Quinarius Thesalonika 317-318 Seated RIC VII 25 R5

    RI Romulus 310-311 CE AE25 DIVO Rome Domed Shrine doors ajar with sm Eagle R E Q.jpg
    RI Romulus 310-311 CE AE25 DIVO Rome Domed Shrine doors ajar with sm Eagle R E Q

    RI Julia Flavia Titi Diva 90-91 CE d-Titus concubine-uncleDomitian AE Sestert 33mm 20.4g - Carpentum mules SPQR - SC

    RI Paulina w Maximinus I D before CE 235 DIVA AE sestertius 30.77mm 19.66g 2nd emiss of Maximinus I CE 236 Peacock RIC IV 3 R

    RI Mariniana AR Ant 253-254 CE DIVA Crescent - On Peacock flying 21.2mm 3.1g RIC VII 6 Rome.JPG
    RI Mariniana AR Ant 253-254 CE DIVA Crescent - On Peacock flying 21.2mm 3.1g RIC VII 6 Rome

    RI Faustina Sr 138-140 CE after 146 CE DIVA AR Denarius m Antoninus Pius 17.4mm 3.2g Ceres torch fold RIC 362 RSC 104


    RI Augustus DIVUS  under Tiberius 22-23 CE Radiate Alter Left.jpg
    RI Augustus DIVUS under Tiberius 22-23 CE Radiate Alter Left
  7. Nemo

    Nemo Well-Known Member

    Fantastic addition!
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  8. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Great addition, David
    David Atherton likes this.
  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Khnum-Hotep

  10. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Smiles, everyone! Supporter

    I’m not going to post any images just now, @David Atherton . I’m just stopping by to check out what you meant by “Going Out in Style.” You definitely got my attention with that title. I was afraid for what it might imply. :wideyed: :hilarious: Needless to say, I’m relieved that you’re not leaving us.

    Great coin! ;)
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
    David Atherton likes this.
  11. GerardV

    GerardV Supporter! Supporter

    Very, very nice.
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  12. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Smiles, everyone! Supporter

    Gerard :wideyed: Great to see you posting again! :singing:
  13. GerardV

    GerardV Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you, sir! I've lurked and kept up on reading the site as best as I could! For what it's worth, I've never left in spirit!
    Alegandron and Deacon Ray like this.
  14. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Smiles, everyone! Supporter

    Yes, I’ve been there many times myself.
  15. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

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  16. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

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