Provincial coin of Domitia and Domitian

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I said in my recent thread about my new Julia Titi dupondius that I'd also love to have a coin of Domitia -- despite the extremely defamatory comments about her character, based entirely on her appearance on coins with her husband, in the book Women of the Caesars, by Giorgio Giacosa, published in the 1970s. See

    By pure coincidence, a provincial coin of Domitia -- with her husband on the other side -- arrived in my mailbox today. It's from Anazarbus in the Roman province of Cilicia, located in the far southeastern corner of Anatolia. And I don't see any of the character defects in her face that Signore Giacosa observed!

    Domitian and Domitia, AE 22.7, 93/94 AD, Cilicia, Anazarbus. Obv. Laureate head of Domitian to right, AYTO KAI ΘΕ YI ΔOMITIANOC CE ΓEP around from upper right / Rev. Draped bust of Domitia left, date IB P (= Year 112, = 93/94 AD)* across fields, star behind head, KAICAPEΩN ΔOMETIA CEBACTH around from lower left. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. II 1749; RPC Online at ttps:// ; SNG Levante 1367 [Levante, E., Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Switzerland I, Levante-Cilicia (Zurich, 1986)], BMC 21 Lycaonia, Anazarbus 9 p. 32 [Hill, G.F., A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Greek Coins of Lycaonia, Isauria, and Cilicia (London, 1900)]. 22.7 mm., 10.09 g. (Purchased from Zuzim Inc, Brooklyn, NY Jan. 2021; exported from Israel 2016 pursuant to IAA [Israel Antiquities Authority] Export License No. 531619, April 17, 2016.) (Double die-match[?] to RPC II 1749, specimen no. 16; see

    *Year 1 of the era was 19 BCE, the date of the founding of Anazarbus after a visit by Augustus.

    Here's the dealer's photo:

    Domitian & Domitia - Cilicia, Anazarbus jpg version.jpg

    In hand, the color is much more green than the dealer's photo. Here's my attempt at showing the color with a bit more fidelity. taken this afternoon in natural light. If you zoom in, you can also see the raised deposits on both sides, especially on the faces (they look like they have terrible rashes!) more clearly. Hopefully they're just verdigris; they look stable. And I still like the coin!

    COMBINED Domitian & Domitia Cilicia, Anazarbus.jpg

    I am fairly sure that my coin is a double die match to RPC 1749, specimen no. 16 (from a Sep. 2019 Roma Numismatics auction) -- the example chosen to illustrate the type on the first page of RPC's description of it. Here's the photo of the coin. The surface is obviously much nicer and smoother than mine, but I think it's a match. At least on the reverse, if not on both sides. If anyone disagrees, please let me know:

    COMBINED RPC 1749 (Domitian & Domitia).jpg

    If mine is a die match to this RPC 1749 specimen, then it should also be a match to @Roman Collector's very nice example, which he posted in a thread last year. SeeÆ-from-anazarbus.349511/ .

    This coin, together with the dupondius of Julia Titi, brings the total number of Roman empresses and other royal women for whom I have at least one coin, Imperial or Provincial, to 24: Livia (assuming she's represented by Pax on the reverse of the Tiberius "Tribute Penny"), Julia Titi, Domitia, Sabina, Faustina I, Faustina II, Lucilla, Crispina, Julia Domna, Plautilla, Julia Paula, Aquilia Severa, Julia Soaemias, Julia Maesa, Sallustia Orbiana, Julia Mamaea, Tranquillina, Otacilia Severa, Herennia Etruscilla, (Diva) Mariniana, Salonina, Severina, Galeria Valeria, and Fausta. I certainly will never be able to afford to buy examples of all the remaining empresses/royal women depicted on Roman coins, but I think there are at least a few more I can probably buy one of these days!

    Please post your own coins of Domitia (whether Imperial or Provincial), or, if you don't
    have any, your Provincial coins of Domitian. I want to see if they look as "odious," "bestial," and "cold and hateful" on any of them as Signore Giacosa claims!
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
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  3. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Fantastic provincial @DonnaML! The reverse portrait of Domitia is rendered in very fine style.

    I will kick things off with a Rome mint 'provincial' cistophorus.

    Domitia [Domitian]
    AR Cistophorus
    Rome mint (for Asia), 82 AD
    Obv: DOMITIA AVGVSTA; Bust of Domitia, draped r., hair massed in front and in long plait behind
    Rev: VENVS AVG; Venus stg. r., leaning on column, with helmet and spear
    RIC 847 (R). BMC 256. RSC 19. RPC 870 (8 spec.). BNC 226.
    Ex CNG E424, 11 July 2018, lot 471.
  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great write up Donna, and a very nice coin of the couple. Domitia loved her husband, she strangled him with her love:)

    P1140245b best.jpg
  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Hey, there are historians who don't believe that she really had anything to do with her husband's assassination. See the Wikipedia article about her, summarizing the arguments. (Two things in that article I didn't know were that she was directly descended from Augustus -- his 4th-great-granddaughter -- and that she may have lived as long as 35 years after Domitian's death.)
    Andres2 and Roman Collector like this.
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I have two more provincials with Domitia, one from Thessaly and the other from Smyrna. On the one from Smryna, she doesn't have a "Flavian" hairstyle and I wonder if the die engravers had any portrait to model her image after.

    Domitian and Domitia, AD 81-96.
    Roman provincial Æ 19.6 mm, 5.13 g, 6 h.
    Thessaly, Koinon of Thessaly, First emisson, c AD 82.
    Obv: ΔΟΜΙΤΙΑΝΟΝ ΚΑΙΣΑΡΑ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΙ, laureate head of Domitian, right.
    Rev: ΔΟΜΙΤΙΑ ΣΕΒΑΣΣΤΗN, draped bust of Domitia, right.
    Refs: RPC II 278; Sear 891; BMC 7.7,76; Rogers 88 var.

    Domitia, Augusta AD 82-96.
    Roman Æ 17.3 mm, 3.15 gm, 7 h.
    Ionia, Smyrna.
    Obv: ΔΟΜΙΤΙΑ ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΑ, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: ΣΜΥΡΝΑΙΩΝ, Nemesis standing left, plucking at chiton on her neck, bridle in left hand.
    Refs: BMC 309; ex-Lindgren I, 80-404 (plate coin).
  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Since nobody has disagreed, I take it that people agree that my coin is a die match to RPC II 1749, specimen 16? Speaking of which, I'm sort of ready to retract my statement that that coin is necessarily so much nicer than my coin, despite the remarkably smooth surfaces. I'm content with mine.
    Only a Poor Old Man and Ryro like this.
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    It is a double die match to the RPC coin, indeed.
    Only a Poor Old Man, DonnaML and Ryro like this.
  9. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    It sure looks like it is a die match to me. Though, that's by eye. I really should take the time to download the relatively simple software to superimpose coin images.
    It always has bothered me that the Flavian ladies are said to look much different than their coins and that the portrait on the coin is essentially their husbands as ladies... though I suppose that's better than them all looking like Titus and Domitian's married their sisters as many coins appear!
    Yours however does not. The simple explanation if we think she really did look as "ratty" as many coins posted herein portray is that her portrait on your coin is as idealized as Domitian's (which, to me, makes him look more August and less Flavian).
    But I tend to believe your portrait to look much closer than
    Lydia, Philadelphia. Augusta, A.D. 82-96. AE 16 (15.36 mm, 2.66 g, 1 h). ΔOMITIA AYΓΟΥCΤΑ (CCW), draped bust of Domitia right / ЄΠI ΛΑΓЄT ΦΙΛΑΔЄΛΦЄ (CCW), bunch of grapes on vine-stem. RPC 1336. Near VF / VF, dark green patina, minor deposits in recesses
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks, @Ryro. Where is your coin from?
    Ryro likes this.
  11. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    You know, like, ancient times n stuff. Jk
    I updated the post as well:rolleyes:
    Lydia, Philadelphia. Augusta, A.D. 82-96. AE 16 (15.36 mm, 2.66 g, 1 h). ΔOMITIA AYΓΟΥCΤΑ (CCW), draped bust of Domitia right / ЄΠI ΛΑΓЄT ΦΙΛΑΔЄΛΦЄ (CCW), bunch of grapes on vine-stem. RPC 1336. Near VF / VF, dark green patina, minor deposits in recesses
    DonnaML and Roman Collector like this.
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