More Than Enough!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Last week I posted a rare sestertius struck for Domitian featuring a quadrifrontal arch on the reverse.

    This week I wish to share a newly acquired drachm from Alexandria sporting an elaborate Domitianic arch.

    Æ Drachm, 21.82g
    Alexandria mint, 95-96 AD
    Obv: ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΘƐΟΥ ΥΙΟϹ ΔΟΜΙΤ ϹƐΒ ΓƐΡΜ; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
    Rev: Triumphal arch; date LΙΕ
    RPC 2728 (9 spec.).
    Acquired from Glenn Terry, eBay, October 2020.

    He erected so many and such huge vaulted passage-ways and arches in the various regions of the city, adorned with chariots and triumphal emblems, that on one of them someone wrote in Greek: "enough!" - Suetonius, Life of Domitian, 13.2.

    This remarkable drachm struck at Alexandria during Domitian's final regnal year features a grandiose triple-span triumphal arch. The exact location of the structure is unknown. Some scholars have argued it represents a local Alexandrian arch (Price-Trell 1977, Vogt 1924, Handler 1971). F. Kleiner on the other hand convincingly proposes it to be a triumphal arch erected in Rome commemorating Domitian's victory over the Germanic Chatti. That it's a triumphal arch is fairly sound. The rooftop central figure of the emperor driving a triumphal quadriga pulled by six horses, flanked by twin trophies with defeated captives makes it fairly clear the arch was erected with a triumph in mind. The type first appeared on Alexandrian tetradrachms in 86, just a few years after the victory over the Chatti making a connection to that triumph very appealing. How accurate is the depiction? We simply do not know. Quite possibly the Alexandrian engravers based the composition on generic stock triumphal types, perhaps augmented by written descriptions, paintings, or sketches. The arch did not survive antiquity but is replicated on drachms of Trajan and Hadrian, likely repurposed for their own needs. The fact the structure was not pulled down and suffered damnatio memoriae, the fate of many Domitianic arches, is surprising. Luckily the coins survive to give us an idea of what this impressive monument may have looked like.

    A. L. Frothingham conjectured the famous Arch of Constantine is actually an arch erected by Domitian(!). Could our triple-span numismatic arch be one and the same?


    Feel free to post anything you feel relevant.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  4. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    That reverse is spectacular - congrats!
    David Atherton likes this.
  5. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Also, thanks to @Alwin for posting a line drawing in the other 'Enough!' thread from the 1965 reprint of the 1859 antiquarian book Ancient Architecture on Greek and Roman Coins and Medals by T.L. Donaldson. It inspired me to obtain my own copy!

    Photo from David Atherton.jpg

    An Ex Library copy for $4. Worth every penny. :cigar:
    galba68, Edessa, Johndakerftw and 4 others like this.
  6. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    A neat coin, David. I like the portrait on it.
  7. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great coin David, I have a soft spot for this particular coin owning two. 9sKZccY62Db3Laf8gC4g5oFCZA7d3k__550x270_-removebg-preview.png Domitian Alexandria.jpg
    Carl Wilmont, galba68, zumbly and 8 others like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    David Atherton likes this.
  9. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    It's pretty remarkable how consistent the arch's depiction is from engraver to engraver.
    Ancient Aussie and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  10. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Other copies online are $50-$80!
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  11. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    You'd think someone would bring it out in one of those cheap, scanned 'reprint' (except, technically, not so much) editions that average around $20 new. ...I've gone that route before with a couple of things.
    More to the point, just took a first look at your gallery. I really like your Antioch tet with Vespasian and Titus facing opposite directions (cool eagle, too!).
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
    David Atherton likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page