Featured Received tribunicia potestas for the fifth time

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus Maximus, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    The Tribunicia potestas
    The function of tribune of the people dates back to the Roman republic. The people's tribune had the duty to defend the interests of the common people. It was an important function because it represented something of a counterpower. The person who held this position had a number of important power resources. The entirety of these means of power was called the Tribunicia potestas (tribunician power).

    The tribunicia potestas consisted of the following elements:

    • inviolability during function
    • right of veto on decisions of the senate and magistrates
    • Right to convene the Senate.
    • The right to make legislative proposals
    • Publishing edicts
    After the seizure of power by Augustus, the role of the Tribunicia potestas changed. Augustus was granted the rights of tribunicia potestas in 23 BC, but he did not hold the position of tribune of the people. After him it was therefore no longer customary for the emperor to hold the position of tribune of the people, but the rights of tribunicia potestas were granted to most emperors after Augustus.

    Tribunicia potestas rights were very important to emperors. They largely gave the emperor his power base. It is true that the emperor was often an authoritarian leader, but many of the actions an emperor could perform were legally established. This gave the impression that the emperor's power was limited by law, and it was also what distinguished him from kings and dictators.

    It was customary in Roman imperial times for an emperor to acquire the rights of tribunicia potestas upon taking office. Subsequently, they were renewed every year on the date of appointment.

    On coinage, Tribunicia potestas is usually shortened to TRP. It is something that is very often mentioned on coins.

    The eleventh emperor of the Roman Empire, Domitian, also obtained the rights of the tribunicia potestas. He took power on September 13, 81 AD and the senate awarded him the rights of tribunicia potestas on September 14. From that moment on, Domitian renewed his rights of Tribunicia potestas every year.

    I will make clear with a few examples that he not only owned but also applied the rights of tribunicia potestas.

    Once upon the occasion of a plentiful wine crop, attended with a scarcity of grain, thinking that the fields were neglected through too much attention to the vineyards, he made an edict forbidding anyone to plant more vines in Italy and ordering that the vineyards in the provinces be cut down, or but half of them at most be left standing; but he did not persist in carrying out the measure.
    Suetonius, life of Domitian:7

    He took such care to exercise restraint over the city magistrates and the governors of the provinces, that at no time were they more honest or just, whereas after his time we have seen many of them charged with all manner of offences.

    Suetonius, life of Domitian:8

    Domitian was an emperor who saw himself as the new Augustus. It was therefore not surprising that he controlled almost all aspects of public life. Suetonius admits that his approach to corruption was successful, but with a stab at the end of the sentence he makes sure he is not too positive about this publicly damned emperor.

    The coin

    This denarius was struck after Domitian obtained his tribunicia potestas rights for the fifth time (TR P V). The coin can therefore be dated between September 14 and sometime in November 85 AD.


    Domitian 81-96
    AR denarius
    Struck 85 AD (fifth issue)
    Head of Domitian, laureate
    Minerva standing right on capital of rostral column, holding spear and shield, owl at foot right (M2)
    Ric 343(R2)
    Ex CGB

    Recently I posted my first coin from 85 AD, which I searched for over a year. Now it seems as if these coins are blowing towards me. Not only have I been able to add this rarity, there are a few more on the way. I do not know what an explanation is for the fact that quite a number of them appeared suddenly, but I am very happy with it.

    Please show your coins related to the tribunician power. That can be the title TRP, but also a reverse that has something to do with the tribunician power, or something else relevant.
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  3. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    When I started collecting ancient coins I had no idea about the meaning of "TRP" or "TRPOT". One of the things that dragged me into this area is that you cannot be a collector without studying.

    Domitian AD 81-96. From the Tareq Hani collection. Rome
    Denarius AR
    20 mm., 3,00 g.
    RIC II, Part 1 (second edition) Domitian 517
    Old RIC 100
    RSC 228
    Date: AD 87
    Type: Head of Domitian, laureate, right
    Reverse Legend: IMP XIIII COS XIII CENS P P P
    Type: Minerva advancing right, holding spear and shield

    And the first coin I saw with this writing in the legend and I read about what it means.


    24 g 33 mm
    Type: Head of Titus, laureate, right; Portrait: Titus
    Reverse Legend: FELICIT PVBLIC S C
    Type: Felicitas standing left, holding sceptre and cornucopiae
    From Date: AD 80
    To Date: AD 81
    RIC 143
  4. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    I agree that a little study is essential to understanding Roman coins.
    Your Domitian is nice. Although it is listed as C by RIC, coins from the second issue of 87 AD are quite scarce.
    ambr0zie likes this.
  5. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Thanks. I am not extremely happy about it - surface issues - but in hand it's not that bad. Also my only Domitian imperial so far.
    As a habit, I always check RIC rarity but I know this is not 100% reliable.
    Parthicus Maximus likes this.
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    This sestertius isn't exactly uncirculated ... but it notes Antoninus Pius had received tribunicia potestas a whopping 23 times!


    Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 23.46 g, 32.3 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, December 159 - December 160.
    Obv: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXIII, laureate head, right.
    Rev: PIETATI AVG COS IIII, Pietas, standing facing, head left, holding globe in extended right hand and child on left arm; on either side of her, small girl standing, raising one hand.
    Refs: RIC 1031; BMCRE 2088-90; Cohen 621; Strack 1192; RCV 4205.
    Notes:RIC 1002 and BMCRE 2062 are misdescribed by Mattingly in both RIC3 and BMCRE4. It is extremely doubtful that any specimens read TR P XXII on obv., but actually read TR P XXIII with the final "I" being merged with the neck truncation.
    Marsyas Mike, DonnaML, Ryro and 6 others like this.
  7. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste


    RIC III Antoninus Pius 1020
    From Date: AD 158 To Date: AD 159
    Type: Head of Antoninus Pius, radiate, right
    Type: Antoninus Pius, standing left, sacrificing with patera over tripod, left arm at side

    23 is OK, but 22
  8. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Nice coins!......I have the same coin as @Roman Collector ......But my next highest is my avatar TRP XVIII....Then a Denarius of Marcus Aurelius TRP XVI...
    AP BLACK DUP.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
    Marsyas Mike, DonnaML, Ryro and 7 others like this.
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Yes, but, unfortunately it is possible to set up shop as a coin dealer and make a living selling things you don't understand to a group that calls themselves 'collectors' even though the only things that matter to them is what is printed on the slab and the price they dream they can get if the consign the thing to the correct remarketeer (spelling intentional). To be polite, we call them 'investors'. The ones I find most interesting are those who do not take delivery of the coins they buy but leave them in the care of their dealer pending resale. To be polite, we call them 'day traders'. Perhaps the hobby is headed to a place where people interested in studying the coins will populate their 'collections' from the online photo files without the necessity of there even being an actual piece of metal involved. To be polite, we call them 'crypto-collectors'.

    Also, you can remember having studied it once and have lost what you once knew. I'm too lazy to re-research it. Who was the last to use TRP on a coin? This double sestertius is by Postumus PM TRP COS II PP. rr1920bb1801.jpg

    Gallienus used TRP with a numeral. Here is XIII.

    Note on the above coin, the traditional Consul abbreviation COS was shortened to just a C. Gallienus did this also to TRP with this coin marked PXV.
  10. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Wonderful coin and excellent write-up!

    Here is my RIC 343.

    D343a.jpg Domitian
    AR Denarius, 3.34g
    Rome mint, 85 AD
    Obv: IMP•CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P V; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
    Rev: IMP•VIIII COS XI CENS POT•P•P•; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield; to r., owl (M2)
    RIC 343 (R2). BMC p. 317, *. RSC 187. BNC -.
    Ex Harlan J Berk 186, 21 August 2013, lot 229.
    Marsyas Mike, DonnaML, Orfew and 7 others like this.
  11. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Domitian_ric_342_new-removebg.png I do not have a RIC 343 to post. I do, however, have a RIC 342. Great coin @Parthicus Maximus
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