Safe Return or Good Health?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Sometimes upon receiving a coin I'm quite surprised how unexpectedly beautiful it is in hand. My latest addition is one such piece.

    D385a.jpg Domitian
    Æ As, 10.60g
    Rome mint, 85 AD
    RIC 385 (C2). BMC 358.
    Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XI CENS POT P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
    Rev: SALVTI above, AVGVSTI below; S C in field; Altar
    Acquired from Praefectus Coins, August 2019.

    The SALVTI AVGVSTI altar type was first introduced on Domitian's aes coinage in 84 after a brief hiatus of the Senatorial mint's production in 82-83, presumably for re-organisational purposes. The structure on the reverse has been traditionally described as an altar, however, Marvin Tameanko has convincingly argued it is actually a sacellum, or small shrine. He states the steps at the base leading to two doors with handles are overwhelming evidence that the structure was much larger than an altar. As far as the shrine's significance - H. Mattingly in BMCRE II interprets the type as commemorating the Senate's dedication of an altar shrine celebrating Domitian's safe return from the Germanic Wars of 82-83. Alternately, the shrine may have been dedicated as an appeal to Salus for the emperor's continued good health. In any case, no trace of the structure has survived antiquity.

    This As with its aegis, large flan (30mm), and elegant idealised style are all hallmarks of the new direction introduced after the Senatorial mint's overhaul. A 'tyrant' such as Domitian had no business producing such beautiful coins.

    Feel free to post your altar, shrine, or Salus types.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  3. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    That is a lovely example David. Congrats on adding this beauty to your collection.

    Here is my favourite Domitian SALVS.

    Domitian RIC 145.jpg

    Here is another Domitian SALVS.

    Domitian RIC 1085.jpg

    Here is an altar on a coin of Domitian
    Domitian ric 40.jpg
  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Augustus Providentbb.jpg
    I agree, these socalled altars look more like a shrine.
  5. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great coin David, looks to have nice surfaces and good detail.
    I picked mine up cheaply a few years back due to the corrosion damage on the obverse, but very happy with the reverse detail. Domitian altar.jpg
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    What a lovely patina! While I have many coins depicting Salus, I have only one Flavian that does:

    Vespasian SALVS AVG denarius.jpg
    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.
  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    A handsome coin and great patina on it.
    David Atherton likes this.
  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Cogito Ergo Sum

    Great coin there and a nice addition to your collection David.
    David Atherton likes this.
  9. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    That's a lovely example of a not so common variant of the type struck for Vespasian.

    Well done!
    Roman Collector likes this.
  10. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Domitian seemed to have been preoccupied with Salus, perhaps he was a hypochondriac?
    Roman Collector and Orfew like this.
  11. Nemo

    Nemo Well-Known Member

    Awesome coin with beautiful patina!

    My favorite Salus is easy.
    AR Denarius, Rome mint, 73 AD
    O:Head of Titus right, laureate, bearded; T CAES IMP VESP CENS
    R: SALVS AVG; Salus seated left with patera
    - RIC 518 (R2)
  12. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Sweet. I bet it look great in hand

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